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Five things to look forward to...
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Five things to look forward to in this weekend's horseracing

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

14:23 6 Dec 2019

Douvan, Sprinter Sacre, Moscow Flyer, Kicking King, Don Cossack, Sizing John, just some of the previous winners we have seen of this weekends' races recently.

This weekend's horseracing promises to be a pre-Christmas cracker with the focus mostly on chasers between now and Sunday evening. Here are five things for racing fans to savour this weekend.

Tingle Creek

Sandown's feature two-mile chase may not have the lustre of some previous renewals, but it will provide key clues as to how the two-mile division shapes up for the rest of the year. Defi du Seuil was impressive on seasonal debut and is favourite to confirm the form with Politilogue.

However, should Politilogue win, that may tempt Altior back to two miles following his defeat by Cyrname at Ascot. The apparent logic being a straight line of form through last season's Champion Chase where Altior beat Politilogue and Sceau Royal.

However, there is one notable absentee at Sandown, the Willie Mullins monster Chacun Pour Soi who handily beat Defi du Seuil at Punchestown in April.

If Politilogue gets the better of Defi du Seuil, it may tempt Nicky Henderson back to the division Altior has dominated, but it doesn't consider Mullin's monster who should have improved again given Chacun Pour Soi has only had three chase starts.

Willie Mullins will most likely send Chacun Pour Soi to Leopardstown at Christmas, where he has an early entry on the day two of the festival.

Mullins had the option of sending the Champion chase favourite to Cork for the Hilly Way chase on Sunday. He will be mob-handed again this year, looking to add a ninth win in the race since 2009

John Durkan

Punchestown will be the place for one of the most enigmatic horses in training on Sunday when Presenting Percy gets his Gold Cup mission underway in the John Durkan Chase.

The 2018 RSA Chase winner has only been seen in public twice since that victory at Cheltenham and it looks like he may enjoy a slightly more orthodox horseracing campaign this season. Although the ground was unsuitably quick on several occasions last year.

His trainer Pat Kelly is famously media averse and gives no interviews leaving any public communication to owner Philip Reynolds.

The set-up seems to appeal to the horseracing public who gave 'Percy' a hero's welcome following his Galmoy Hurdle win at Gowran Park in January, he also went off favourite for the Gold Cup on the back of that highly unorthodox preparation.

Last year's winner Min is a short-priced favourite to back up, but again it's Percy who will pique the public's interest. While dual Gold Cup placed Anibale Fly will keep them honest, should either of the top two in the market underperform.

Beecher Chase

Horseracing over the iconic Grand National fences always sets the pulse racing. The Beecher Chase on Saturday will give several of the runners a crucial look at the famous fences. While One for Arthur is very familiar with Aintree having been the last horse before Tiger Roll to win a Grand National.

Mulcahy's Hill tops the market and would be an intriguing winner once the weights for Aintree are published. Tiger Roll will be top-weight, even if the handicapper drops him a few pounds to compress the handicap.

Mulcahy's Hill runs off 144, even a wide margin win would not see him raised much more than eight pounds. A scenario that would leave Warren Greatrex's horse, carrying less than 11 stone if Tiger Roll turns up.

Renewed Rivalries

Native River and Might Bite clashed in last year's Gold Cup, having finished first and second in 2018 renewal. Neither have won a race since the spring of 2018. The pair meet again in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree on Saturday.

Both have questions to answer following a difficult 2019 but only face two other rivals on Saturday, Outlander and Black Corton. While this year's Gold Cup looks deeper than previous years, to throw this pair back into the mix adds a further layer to the intrigue.

Peterborough Chase

Huntingdon isn't the most obvious place to look for Cheltenham clues, but it worked for Best Mate in the past.

Two tracks would struggle to be more topographically different than the Cambridgeshire venue and Prestbury Park.

However, thanks to sponsors Fitzdares, the winner of Sunday's feature will receive a huge Β£500,000 bonus if they can land the King George and Gold Cup too.

That was enough for Warren Greatrex to divert his La Bague Au Roi to Huntingdon, as he and connections dream of more Grade One glory for their star mare.

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Aintree Horseracing National Hunt Punchestown Sandown Tingle Creek

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