Vibrato Valtat in pole position for Tingle Creek Chase
Coral have cut Vibrato Valtat from 9/4 into 2/1 for the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown after major race rival Simonsig was withdrawn.
Trainer Paul Nicholls has won this feature race a record nine times and, with one of the other leading contenders now out of the running, he boasts major claims of making it 10 victories through Vibrato Valtat.
This six-year-old developed into a top-class novice chaser last season when winning four times, including over course and distance here at Sandown.
Vibrato Valtat also ran well when fourth to Un De Sceaux in the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival, and when runner-up behind Clarcam in the Grade 1 Manifesto Chase at Aintree.
Although not at his best on his final start when a well-beaten fourth in the Grade 1 Celebration Chase over course and distance, that race may have been one too many after a long and hard season, so Vibrato Valtat looked better than ever when landing the Haldon Gold Cup on his return to action at Exeter last month.
The son of Voix Du Nord only had to be ridden out to score by four lengths after making a mistake and pecking at the last, and it was a performance which suggested Vibrato Valtat may well have even more to offer.
Special Tiara and Sire De Grugy stand in Nicholls’ way
Just because Simonsig has pulled out of the race, that doesn’t mean this will be a walkover for Nicholls’ grey gelding.
Henry De Bromhead’s Special Tiara beat Vibrato Valtat here at Sandown back in April, but the eight-year-old then underwhelmed when fourth of six behind Hidden Cyclone in the Fortria Chase at Navan on his seasonal appearance last month.
Gary Moore gelding Sire De Grugy won the Tingle Creek back in 2013, but doesn’t look like he’s recovered from falling in the Melling Chase at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in the spring – if judged by his last of five behind Vibrato Valtat in the Haldon Gold Cup.