George hoping to profit from quicker surface with God's Own
Betfair Tingle Creek Chase | Grade 1 |2m | CH4/RUK
Tom George has a similar hand to Gary Moore in the Tingle Creek, with two runners at very different stages of their careers.
God's Own, like Sire De Grugy, has been there, done it and got the T-shirt. The younger - though in this case only by a year - Sir Valentino is, like Ar Mad, still rising through the ranks.
The George team's enduring star God's Own is something of an unsung hero, but it bears repeating that he has won three Grade 1 races and that the latest at Punchestown in May came at the expense of Vautour no less, not to mention Simonsig.
He is at his best on goodish ground, and all three big wins came in the spring, but he was a very creditable six-length second behind Un De Sceaux in last year's Racing Post Arkle Chase at Cheltenham on good to soft.
George said: "The ground at Ascot last time was too soft for God's Own but he came back as fresh as paint and it looks as if it should be all right for him this time. He's in very good form. I couldn't be happier with him. He should be spot on."
Sir Valentino is very much the outsider of the party, but his Haldon Gold Cup defeat of Garde La Victoire confirmed that he has not stopped improving.
George reckons the race will be run to suit and said: "It's difficult to compare Sir Valentino and God's Own as I don't tend to work my best horses together.
"Sir Valentino has to improve again, but the small field will suit him and he jumps well now, although he used to have the odd hiccup. He warrants his place in the line-up."
Pros Triple Grade 1 winner who will be effective on the unseasonably good ground
Cons Very best form is usually in the spring