Gold bid likely for frustrating Tidal Bay

THE enigmatic Tidal Bay will have a crack at claiming Cheltenham Gold Cup glory after another frustrating effort in the Argento Chase on Saturday.

The 10-year-old came from the clouds to chase home reigning Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander on his penultimate start in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.

Returning to Cheltenham, he looked likely to be nearer last than first at one stage, but he once again consented to run on in the home straight to pick up minor honours behind all-the-way winner Neptune Collonges.

His trainer Howard Johnson believes there is no other way to ride the gelding other than to coax him round and he believes there is every reason to believe his charge will run a similar race in the Gold Cup.

Johnson said: “He’s fine this morning. What can you do with him?

“They just went too slow for him through the race and when you get Tony McCoy in front stopping and starting like he was, how do you get past him? He’s very clever.

“You can’t do anything else than what we did with our horse and he’ll go for the Gold Cup now as there’s nothing else for him.”

Meanwhile Chicago Grey in the National Hunt Chase will lead Gordon Elliott’s raid on Cheltenham when he seeks a first winner at the big meeting in March.

The Grand National-winning trainer believes the eight-year-old has plenty going for him in the four-mile test.

“It’s a bit early to be backing horses for Cheltenham, but he ticks all the boxes,” the County Meath trainer said.

“He’s got good form round the track, all he does is stay and he had a good run in a Grade One in his last race.

“If we get him there in one piece, he’ll definitely be bang there. We’re trying to get our first Cheltenham Festival winner and it will be nice if it happens.”

Elliott will send Jessies Dream to the RSA Chase without another run.

The gelding, owned by David Johnson, won the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse and was runner-up to Magnanimity at Leopardstown earlier this month.

“He’s very good. He had a little break after Leopardstown and the RSA is the plan. He’ll like a bit of good ground and the trip. He’s in good form and we’re looking forward to it,” he went on.

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