Chacun Pour Soi carried untold millions of pounds to defeat on his only previous start in Britain at Cheltenham in March, and the painful memory of that disappointment may still be a little fresh for some punters as Willie Mullins’s chaser is as big as 11-10 for the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park on Saturday.
Set the Champion Chase to one side, however, and in every other respect, Chacun Pour Soi (2.25) looks and feels like an odds-on shot. He seemed to falter on the hill at Cheltenham but was hugely impressive in three Grade One wins last season, at Leopardstown in December and February and then Punchestown – like Sandown, a right-handed track – in April.
The form of all three victories was backed up by the clock and while Nube Negra was just in front of him at Cheltenham, Dan Skelton’s runner has 11lb to find with the favourite on Timeform’s ratings, at a course that will play to Chacun Pour Soi’s strengths.
Greaneteen and Bryony Frost, in fact, could be a bigger danger on the form of their Grade One win over course and distance in April. Chacun Pour Soi won first time up last season, however, and if he is anywhere close to his best, he should account for Saturday’s rivals with something to spare.
Aintree 1.30 White Pepper improved from her hurdling debut to win readily in a strong time at Galway in October and can add to Gavin Cromwell’s impressive 20% strike-rate in the UK over the last two years.
Sandown Park 1.50 Edwardstone was giving 8lb to the runner-up at Warwick last time but ran out a comfortable winner and looks a top-class recruit to fences.
Aintree 2.05 Unlike a couple of his main rivals, Imperial Aura looks ideally suited to this sharp three-mile test.
Aintree 2.40 Snow Leopardess does not have the benefit of a previous run over the National fences but she has scarcely put a foot wrong over fences so far and is interesting at around 6-1 to rise to the challenge.
Sandown Park 3.00 The form of last season’s Midlands National at Uttoxeter is solid and Highland Hunter, fifth there and unraced since, is interesting at around 8-1 if the steep climb on Paul Nicholls’s gallops has worked its magic.
Aintree 3.15 Tamar Bridge has been won with something to spare on his last two starts and starts his career in handicaps on a workable mark.
Sandown Park 3.35 Hudson De Grugy has won his last three starts over this course and distance and put up another career-best performance on his return to action here last month. He is up just 4lb for his latest success and looks a good bet at around 9-2 to make the necessary progress.