Tidal Bay: will switch back to hurdles at Cheltenham before the NationalPICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
World Hurdle and Grand National plan for Tidal
AFTER watching Silviniaco Conti lay down a serious Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup marker with victory in the Betfair Denman Chase on Saturday, Paul Nicholls says stablemate and recent Lexus Chase winner Tidal Bay is now "highly likely" to bid for Cheltenham Festival glory in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
Tidal Bay is as short as 10-1 for the Gold Cup but Nicholls favours a tilt at the World Hurdle, a race he has won for the last four years with the sidelined Big Buck's.
"We have yet to finalise plans but we are now highly likely to run Tidal Bay in the World Hurdle," said Nicholls in his Betfair blog.
BetVictor go just 5-1 about the 2008 Arkle winner landing a second festival win in the World Hurdle and Nicholls added: "Of course, we will leave him in the Gold Cup until the last minute, but as it stands our plan with him is the World Hurdle and then the Grand National. He will go straight to Cheltenham."
Assessing Silviniaco Conti's Gold Cup credentials, Nicholls said: "People don't believe you when you say you have left a lot to work on with horses in these prep races - they think it is a matter of getting your excuses in early - but, trust me, that would have been like his first run of the season for him. So it was a great result, with so much to build on fitness-wise."
After Saturday’s win Silviniaco Conti is now a best price 6-1 with the sponsors and Boylesports to hand Nicholls a fifth Gold Cup.