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Racing Post Ratings indicate Sire De Grugy is only Tingle Creek winner

The withdrawal of Sprinter Sacre may be a shame for those visiting Sandown to watch the Tingle Creek, but for those having a bet, it has at least made the 2m contest more wide open.

Unless Kauto Stone makes a drastic return to form after a below-par 12 months, the race does seem to be between three entrants that are hard to make compelling arguments against.

However, preference is that Sire De Grugy (2/1) can get the better of Captain Conan (9/4) and Somersby (11/4), with his Racing Post Rating as good a reason as any to back him.

All of the last 10 Tingle Creek winners have had an RPR of least 169, while only Twist Magic has not been rated at least 172.

In this year’s field, Sire De Grugy is rated at 177, with Somersby next at 168.

The seven-year-old has made substantial improvement since stepping into the senior chase ranks this year and his handicap triumph at Chepstow two starts ago was particularly eye-catching.

He arguably hit the front too soon last time and was far from fluent with his jumping. An improved jumping display here will be necessary.

The favourite has taken this in the last three years too and in four of the last five.

Somersby will be well fancied after beating Betfair Chase winner Cue Card last time, but on official ratings, he has 8lb to find with Sire De Grugy. He is the safest jumper of the leading protagonists and this could be crucial.

Captain Conan is classy enough to win this, but Sandown is not typically a circuit to favour the frontrunners and he may be forced to push the pace here, with no other logical leaders in the field.