Monday, March 26, 2012

Tartak team mull Topham Trophy bid

The useful Tartak could well be given the green light to take his chance at Aintree next month in the John Smith’s Topham Trophy Handicap Chase over the massive spruce obstacles, having never before jumped anything other than standard park fences, writes Elliot Slater.

The new challenge could well bring out the very best in the Tim Vaughan-trained gelding who remains a force to be reckoned with as he proved at the recent Cheltenham Festival when running with plenty of credit under a big weight to be fifth of the 22-runner field behind the gambled on Salut Flo in the Byrne Group Plate. The handicapper has at last given Tartak a chance and has dropped him a total of eight pound since the beginning of the term, resulting in a flurry of horse racing tips.

Last season he struck a rich vein of form that saw him win the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase, the Grade 3 Chase at Cheltenham, then later that term running with great credit to finish fourth to Master Minded in the Grade 1 John Smith’s Melling Chase at the Aintree Festival.

His first three outings this term suggested that Tartak might not quite be the force of old, the gelded son of Akhdari never getting competitive in one race at Auteuil in France and two others back in England, despite being highly fancied among horse racing betting tips.

But last time out when encountering his preferred good ground for the first time this campaign Vaughan’s talented performer showed that the old fire is still there, staying-on well from the home turn to be never nearer than at the finish behind Salut Flo.

With his preferred surface all but guaranteed following the prolonged dry spell, Tartak’s class could well give him a very serious chance of getting in amongst the principals in what is always a tremendous spectacle for National Hunt fans.

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