Owner Graham Wylie’s hugely talented chaser Tidal Bay once again showed that he remains capable of very smart form when proving the only horse able to make a race of it with the flying Midnight Chase at Cheltenham in the Argento Chase and now seems likely to be targeted at the Betfair Bowl at the Aintree Festival in April, writes Elliot Slater.
Over the years Tidal Bay has won his share of top races including the 2008 Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the Grade 1 Maghull Chase at Aintree a few weeks later. Last successful in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2010, the now 11-year-old ran well to be placed in a stack of other high quality events but has always looked a difficult ride, carrying his head awkwardly and often giving the impression that he has not been putting his heart into the business end of his races. Those placing a BetVictor bet should bear this in mind.
Following the disqualification of his long-time trainer Howard Johnson earlier this season the gelded son of Flemensfirth was switched to the care of champion trainer Paul Nicholls and put up a satisfactory performance when third under a big weight in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Switched back to fences at Cheltenham at the weekend for the Grade 2 Argento Chase, Tidal Bay was given a sympathetic ride by Ruby Walsh who was keen to get him switched off early in the race. Making good headway after the fourth last he emerged as the only possible danger to Midnight Chase, and despite failing by two-and-three-quarter-lengths showed enough to suggest there might yet be one more Grade 1 win left in him. Anyone looking for a Bwin review should bear this in mind.
Nicholls and Walsh are convinced that Aintree suits their charge best and are likely to bypass the Cheltenham Festival and wait for the showcase Liverpool meeting to tackle the Betfair Chase at a track where the talented performer has scored three times in the past.