There’s an old saying in racing: never be afraid of one horse. No doubt some of the connections facing Kauto Star in Saturday’s feature at Sandown, the William Hill Tingle Creek Trophy, will utter the cliché, though perhaps more in hope than belief. Kauto Star is not only the best horse in the race, his official handicap rating tells us he is the best chaser in training. Unfortunately for his opponents, the Tingle Creek is run off level weights.
Shall we all empty our piggy banks and pile in at 4/7? Wouldn’t we be buying money at our local bookie at better rates available on the rest of the High Street? Perhaps. However, the history of racing is littered with sure things that turned out to be a quick route to the workhouse. Kauto Star is undoubtedly a fine horse. But his form in two-mile chases in the UK reads 1F. It is the F (for faller) that is a concern.
Stepped up to three miles on soft ground in the Betfair Chase a fortnight ago, Kauto Star looked a world-beater. But two-mile races are the chasing equivalent of a sprint. If the Tingle Creek develops into a fast-paced battle, Kauto will not have the luxury of measuring his fences. One mistake in this sort of contest can cost a horse, even a supremely talented one, the prize. Last season’s impressive Arkle winner, Voy Por Ustedes, has all the right credentials to make this a real race.
Later, in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle, Miss Academy is worth a second look. She has been very lightly raced since her fourth in the Fred Winter Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2005. Miss Academy looks like a typical Pipe dark horse and one suspects that if she was trained by father Martin, rather than son, David, she would be a shorter price. She should be suited by the soft ground.
2:35 Sandown Voy Por Ustedes (win)
3:10 Sandown Miss Academy (each-way)
3:40 Sandown Nitrat (win)