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Tidal Bay on Target for Grand National Bid
He might be 13-years-old, but the remarkable veteran stayer, Tidal Bay, looks to have a potentially serious chance of winning the ‘world’s greatest steeplechase’, the Crabbies Grand National at Aintree in April, after running a blinder last time out when a close third under top-weight in a stirring renewal of the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow’s Christmas meeting.

Ruled out of running at Aintree last term by a niggling leg injury – having arguably run the race of his life to win the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in stunning last-to-first fashion – the son of Flemensfirth scored on his return to the fray in a Grade 2 staying hurdle at Wetherby in early-November before running a rare below-par race when only fifth behind Cue Card in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock three weeks later.

Trainer Paul Nicholls decided to run his veteran in a handicap for the first time since finishing a brave second under top weight in the 2012 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, a race won by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth. In deep bog-like conditions at Chepstow old Tidal Bay stayed on well having been held up a long way off the pace in the muddy ground, eventually failing by just three-quarters-of-a-length to peg back Mountainous, who was receiving a massive 26lbs.

That effort showed that the Andrea and Graham Wylie-owned gelding – who famously failed narrowly to beat the top-class Imperial Commander in the 2010 Betfair Chase - still has his heart in the right place. He stays really well, rarely makes the jumping errors that once clouded his career, and might just be good enough (despite the near certainty of top weight), to make all the younger horses look to their laurels at Aintree. Almost favourite in Betfair’s ante-post market for the showcase marathon event at odds of 24 Tidal Bay appeals as a decent bet and will be the class act of the contest.
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