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Bay Increasingly Likely to Target World Hurdle

The high-class and tremendously versatile old stager, Tidal Bay, looks increasingly likely to bid for the Grade 1 Ladbrokes World Hurdle at next month’s Cheltenham Festival, in preference to having another crack at the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, writes Elliot Slater.

Tidal Bay
© Caroline Norris

Tidal Bay

The deciding factor weighing against the 12-year-old bidding to become one of the oldest winners of chasing’s showcase event for many years appears to be the excellent form of his young stable companion, Silviniaco Conti.

Conti put up a fine display when running away with the Grade 2 Betfair Denman Chase at the weekend, leaving trainer, Paul Nicholls, convinced that he is going to run a massive race in the Gold Cup itself five weeks later.

Nicholls’ comments appear to have contributed towards Tidal Bay drifting in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting odds, a race in which he is now generally available at 16/1 having been a 12/1 shot before Silviniaco Conti’s Newbury romp.

Conversely, 8/1 is now the best price on offer for the Graham and Andrea Wylie-owned veteran, who was a superb last-gasp winner over fences on his most recent start, when coming from well behind to get up in the dying strides to beat First Lieutenant, Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

That form has been franked by the third and fourth fighting out the finish to the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup recently, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that Tidal Bay has already proved this term that he still retains all his hurdling ability, having galloped to success at Wetherby on his seasonal bow in early-November.

He ran out a four-and-a-half victor from Crack Away Jack in the Grade 2 John Smith’s West Yorkshire Hurdle, after which he ran a cracker to chase home Bobs Worth in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

Should he go for the Hurdle, Tidal Bay is likely to be available for around 7/1 in the World Hurdle betting odds.

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