Captain Conan: one of Sire De Grugy's main rivals in the Tingle CreekPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Moore: De Grugy the one to beat in Tingle Creek
WINNING Saturday's Tingle Creek with Sire De Grugy would be a "big deal" for Gary Moore, who reckons his stable star is the one to beat in the Sandown Grade 1.
Should the classy seven-year-old triumph, it would provide dual-purpose trainer Moore with his first top-level success and he heads into the race in fine form having saddled a double at the track on Friday.
In the absence of the mighty Sprinter Sacre, who would have been long odds-on to win the BetVictor-sponsored race, Sire De Grugy heads the market at a general 2-1.
Successful in the Grade 2 Celebration Chase over Saturday's course and distance last season, he bolted up in a handicap at Chepstow on his first outing of the campaign, but was beaten into second by Kid Cassidy in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham last time.
"It won't be easy but I do think they have us to beat," said Moore, who saw Violet Dancer and Vino Griego score at Sandown on Friday.
"I think he is better on a flat track and with Sprinter Sacre out this is definitely his big race of the season.
"It would be nice to win a Grade 1 as well. It would be a big deal - but he hasn't won yet."
Captain Conan, a Nicky Henderson-trained stablemate of Sprinter Sacre and Kid Cassidy, is second favourite for the Tingle Creek at 5-2, while Somersby, who had impressive Betfair Chase winner Cue Card behind him in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter last month, is 100-30.
The other Grade 1 on Sandown's card - the Racing Post Henry VII Novices' Chase - is likely to head to a trainer who is no stranger to big-race wins with Jonjo O'Neill, Alan King, Henderson and Paul Nicholls responsible for the top four in the market.
Betfred make O'Neill's Taquin Du Seuil their 3-1 favourite and have Balder Succes (King), Grandouet (Henderson) and Hinterland (Nicholls) all at 7-2.
Taquin Du Seuil is "the horse to beat by a long way" according to Henderson, but the six-year-old's jockey Tony McCoy has some worries about the ground - described as good, good to soft places on Friday.
McCoy said: "Two miles on heavy ground would have been perfect, but it's going to be much better ground than that, which is a concern. Grandouet and Hinterland were much higher-rated hurdlers, and they might be a tad quicker, but it's worth giving it a go."