Tidal Bay to swerve Exeter

Arkle Trophy hero Tidal Bay is unlikely to contest the William Hill Gold Cup at Exeter next month with connections preferring to start the seven-year-old’s season off at one of the northern circuits.

Howard Johnson’s charge has won five of his six outings over fences, adding to his Arkle triumph with a hugely impressive display in the Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree.

County Durham-based Johnson had been eyeing a trip to Exeter as a potential port of call for his reappearance, but owner Graham Wylie says they would prefer to start him off nearer to home.

“I’m not sure we’ll be going to Exeter now – it’s probably too far, too soon for him,” said Wylie.

“He’s almost ready to rock and roll, though, so we will probably take him local.”

Johnson also had news of his exciting prospect On Raglan Road, an impressive 38 length winner on his hurdling debut at Hexham.

The five-year-old holds engagements at Cheltenham and Kelso on Friday and Saturday, but is likely to bypass those events with connections considering a trip to Aintree the following weekend.

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