Politologue edges out Fox Norton in Tingle Creek
Last Updated: 09/12/17 3:38pm
Paul Nicholls won his 10th Betfair Tingle Creek Chase as Politologue held off odds-on favourite Fox Norton at Sandown.
The grey travelled strongly for Harry Cobden as Ar Mad put the pace to the race while Fox Norton made a few scruffy leaps.
As Cobden kicked on coming off the home bend, Robbie Power set off in pursuit on the 8-13 favourite but he got a bit tight into the second last.
Politologue went three lengths clear and pinged the last and while Fox Norton was game in pursuit, he could only get with half a length.
Nicholls told ITV Racing: "That means an awful lot, we are just short of a Grade One horse and I always believed in this one. It was a good ride from Harry and I'm delighted for everybody."
Cobden said: "He's a lovely horse, the first day I sat on him was at Haydock over two and a half on heavy ground, he took a bit of my heart that day and he's got it all now."
Nicholls went on: "He is starting to look the proper job. I knew when he went to Exeter there would be huge improvement.
"No one ever believes you when you say they need a run, but he hadn't been back long enough really.
"I knew they would go quick and his jumping stands him in great stead. Harry said he just cruises there and ends up idling in front. The faster they go, the more he can get a tow into the race.
"John (Hales, owner) has always wanted him to be a Gold Cup horse. I just thought at Haydock last season and at Cheltenham we were riding him wrong and doing the wrong thing.
"That's why I said we will go to back to two at Aintree and we were unlucky that day.
"I said to Josh (Moore, on Ar Mad) 'thanks for doing that to perfection'. The faster they go the better for him. I suspect we will go to Ascot (for the Clarence House Chase) now at the end of January then on to Cheltenham."
Hales, who has owned other top two-milers such as One Man and Azertyuiop but never won the Tingle Creek, said: : "It is a wonderful win.
"I'm absolutely delighted so it is onwards and upwards now. He is only a six-year-old. I thought we had a chance.
"I thought if we win this today, we've beaten a really good horse. It is a pity Douvan didn't come or Altior wasn't fit because I like to compete against the best and we don't duck anybody. But he a beat a very good horse and all credit to him.
"He is just coming into his own now. He slowed down the pace after the Railway fences, then he went after the Pond fence and he never looked from there as if he was going to be beaten."
Colin Tizzard said of the beaten favourite: "As Robbie said, he missed the first a bit and was just chasing them and we never got there - it was as simple as that. I would say we will be stepping up in trip now. We've always been talking about doing it.
"Whether he is a Ryanair horse or a King George horse, that is not to think about at this minute as I don't know. He ran on and at two out, you thought he was still going to have a pretty good chance.
"He got in a bit tight at the last and Paul Nicholls' runner was away. It was only half a length but he never got there.
"I am sure if the race was run again and he pinged the first he would have been right up there. There were no excuses, he was beaten by a better horse on the day."