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Sire De Grugy to benefit from Sacre’s absence in Tingle Creek

Nicky Henderson decided that discretion was the better part of valour and withdrew Sprinter Sacre from Saturday’s Tingle Creek Chase after an unsatisfactory tracheal wash. The Lambourn Trainer will now be represented by Captain Conan, a very smart chaser in his own right.

The gelding won three Grade 1 chases last season including the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase on the same card 12 months ago. His only defeat came when fifth in the Jewson at the Cheltenham festival in March but he resumed winning ways at Aintree to end his campaign.

Paul Nicholls withdrew Hinterland to leave 2011 runner-up Kauto Stone as his sole representative. His most recent victory came over a year ago in Ireland and he has failed to complete in two of his last four appearances.

Sire de Grugy won the Celebration Chase here in April and started his season with a breath-taking display at Chepstow. He looked certain to win at Cheltenham on his most recent outing when jumping into the lead two from home but was reeled in by another Henderson inmate, Kid Cassidy.

It may be that the Cheltenham hill took its toll on the seven-year-old but he had put in some extravagant leaps and probably just ran out of gas. He will be much better suited by this track and, providing he jumps more economically, is the one to beat on Saturday.

Both Captain Conan and Sire De Grugy are making their way up the chasing ladder but Somersby sets the standard. He put up a game performance to win the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot in 2012 and got back on the winning trail in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.

His narrow victory over Module may not read like exceptional form but he had none other than Cue Card back in third place. That horse has since won the Betfair Chase at Haydock and is currently favourite for the King George at Kempton.

The field is completed by His Excellency, Oiseau de Nuit, Tataniano, Viva Colonia and the enigmatic Mad Moose.