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Special one for Sandown backers.

SPECIAL TIARA can be the chief recipient of Un De Sceaux's Sandown no-show in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase.

It would have been some sight watching the two Irish raiders jostle for the lead at the Esher circuit, but the latter's class would surely have got him home if he was anywhere near fully wound-up. But having been a "little flat'' in the build-up to the Grade One, trainer Willie Mullins has decided against travelling, with Un De Sceaux now set to run at Christmas.

His defection is a sizeable blow for Sandown, but the race is now much more engaging from a betting perspective.

Even when Un De Sceaux was considered a likely runner, Special Tiara was still the subject of plenty of ante-post support during the week.

It is not difficult to see why, either, as he was born to compete at a right-handed, galloping track like Sandown. Memories of his Celebration Chase victory over course and distance in April should not be forgotten easily as he jumped beautifully from the front to easily account for Sprinter Sacre, who was admittedly a shadow of a horse last season.

If he is in a similar frame of mind, it will be very difficult for the likes of Vibrato Valtat and Simonsig, who is still in the early days of rehabilitation, to catch up.

Henry de Bromhead's eightyear-old ideally needs a sound surface to show his best form, so there will be plenty out there quite happy to take him on.

That said, the heavy rain that has afflicted a good chunk of the country is forecast to miss Sandown, which will suit De Bromhead and his representative no end.

It might not be an open-shut case in terms of the ground, either, as he won the Desert Orchid Chase at a muddy Kempton last Christmas. Perhaps the biggest concern regarding Special Tiara is the fact he folded meekly when last sighted in a Grade Two at Navan last month.


Special Tiara, ridden by Barry Geraghty, jumps the third fence on the way to winning the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park last December

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 5, 2015
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