Jonbon proves Champion class with Tingle toil
By Marcus Townend RACING EDITOR
JONBON cemented his claim to be the best British-trained contender for the Queen Mother Champion Chase with a decisive win in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.
In beating the race’s 2022 winner Edwardstone by twoand-three-quarter lengths, Jonbon, ridden by Nico de Boinville, also ended a difficult week on a high for trainer Nicky Henderson.
Earlier in the day, Henderson made the difficult decision to pull unbeaten champion hurdler Constitution Hill and stablemate Shishkin out of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle because of the attritionally heavy ground.
The going was not as arduous on the chase track but Henderson admitted conditions had made him nervous going into the race.
Bookmakers rate Jonbon a 5-2 chance for the two-mile Cheltenham showpiece next March behind 11-10 shot El Fabiolo, who is trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins and who beat him by more than five lengths when they met in the Arkle Chase last spring.
But Henderson believes Jonbon was not at his best that day. Jonbon has won his four races since, three at Grade One level.
Henderson said: ‘He is an attacker and you can really let him rip, but that would have been a bit dangerous in these conditions. It is the sort of ground you can get caught out on if you go for home too early.’
Henderson pointed out that Jonbon beat El Fabiolo over hurdles at Aintree in 2022: ‘So it is 1-1! It is their turn to have a little sweat.’
Constitution Hill and Shishkin will wait for Kempton on Boxing Day for the Christmas Hurdle and King George VI Chase respectively.
In Constitution Hill’s absence, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle was won for the second time by 9-1 shot Not So Sleepy, ridden by Sean Bowen. Trained by Hughie Morrison, Not So Sleepy dead-heated with Epatante in the race in 2021.
dmg media (UK)