Tazbar improving with every start

Tazbar can emerge an animal of the highest order by winning the Citroen C5 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

Tazbar can emerge an animal of the highest order by winning the Citroen C5 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

Keith Reveley’s six-year-old has won his last three races and looks to be improving with every start.

He laid claim to being the best novice hurdler in the north with a victory over Donald McCain’s Whiteoak at Doncaster, with the highly-regarded Khyber Kim well beaten.

What made that performance even more meritorious was that it was over two miles and Reveley has insisted for some time that he will always be seen at his best over three.

And when Whiteoak went and won at the Cheltenham Festival, his form was given another timely boost.

Tazbar has been saved specifically for Aintree and as most of his main rivals took part at Prestbury Park, he will be fresher than most.

Sometimes form from Cheltenham fails to stand up at this meeting given its close proximity.

But the John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase is a virtual re-run of the SunAlliance Chase at the Festival, with the first three home all set to line up.

Last year, Aces Four confirmed the promise of his run behind Denman at Cheltenham with an authoritative victory and this time Battlecry could do the same.

Paddy Brennan attempted to slip the field coming down the hill and looked to have achieved his aim half a mile out before stamina became an issue.

On a sharper track his slick jumping will be even more of an asset and as Albertas Run’s one disappointment this year came at Aintree he might not like the place.

Tom George’s Nacarat made a lasting impression on his British debut at Wincanton before being hammered by the handicapper.

He disappointed next time at Cheltenham where he found the undulations against him but proved behind Natal at Newbury he could be competitive off his new mark.

The John Smith’s Topham Chase is used as a stepping-stone to the National and as this gallant grey has jumping as his main asset, he may get into a rhythm up front and prove hard to catch.

Captain Cee Bee is likely to be warm order in the Littlewoods Direct Imagine Appeal Top Novices’ Hurdle following his good win a couple of weeks ago.

But he has to shoulder a penalty with this only being a Grade Two event and while the ground should suit him better, he can be taken on at the likely prices with Salford City.

In the care of last year’s Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott, he had enough class to finish fifth in the Derby for David Elsworth.

He relishes good ground, was only two lengths behind Aitmatov at Down Royal and was all due to take his chance in the Champion Hurdle before a slight setback a day before. He can reward at tasty odds.

Mister Top Notch can defy a big weight in the totepool Handicap Chase for Davy Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald still thinks he is on a fair handicap mark and he looks a cut above his rivals.

The John Smith’s Mares Only Bumper can go the way of last year’s winning stable, Alan Swinbank, with Little Lu, while it is difficult to see beyond Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Master Minded in the John Smith’s Melling Chase.

At Lingfield Mr Aviator can make up for a near-miss in the Rosebery on Saturday with victory in the lingfieldpark.co.uk Handicap.

Dodaa won with plenty in hand last time and can follow up in the Try Betdaq For An Exchange Handicap at Southwell, while Arturius could prove hard to beat in the Betdaq.co.uk Claiming Stakes at Wolverhampton.

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