Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tidal Bay shaping up for National reappearance

Tidal Bay's attempt at the Grand National in 2011 came to an end when the 11-year-old unseated rider Brian Hughes in his first attempt at the famous steeplechase.

Despite the setback last season, it is unlikely to stop connections from having another shot at the feature race at Aintree this year, as Paul Nicholls bids for his first Grand National success.

The run in Merseyside last April was the first time he failed to complete a circuit in his 31 career runs and those looking at the 2012 Grand National odds should remember he has shown he has what it takes to get around some tough courses.

Tidal Bay's seasonal reappearance this time came at Cheltenham on New Year's Day when finishing third in a Class Two handicap hurdle at Prestbury Park. The Graham Wylie-owned runner was behind the impressive Houblon Des Obeaux and Kayf Aramis.

Although Tidal Bay has had 11 wins over hurdles, it is over the biggest fences that he has shown his best potential. He started his novice career by winning the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008. He followed that up by winning the equivalent novice contest at Aintree a month later.

Tidal Bay's class as a chaser was shown even further last season when he finished sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It was one of the hottest renewals of the blue riband event at the festival, with Long Run, Kauto Star and Denman all involved in the 3m contest.

Before his second shot at the Grand National, he is like to feature at the Cheltenham Festival once again. He has an entry in both the World Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with connections undecided at this stage about which race to bid for with their mount.

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