November 21, 2010 by staff
Howard Johnson’s nine-year-old won the 2008 Arkle and his defeat of Time For Rupert in January’s Cleeve Hurdle shows the talent he possesses. He looked likely to be pulled up on his return in the John Smith’s Hurdle at Wetherby, but consented to run on again and was not beaten all that far into third.
Owner Graham Wylie said: “Tidal Bay is such an enigma. We put him in the three-mile hurdle at Wetherby and he was going well for the first mile but he got a bit bored. He’s the sort of horse that needs to do something different so we’ll go back chasing with him and see how he gets on.”
Wylie added: “He seems fit and well. He had a canter on Tuesday and Howard was pleased with him.
“He’s nearly 10 years old and we still don’t know what his trip is, what ground he prefers, what’s his favourite course and it seems like every time he runs in the same race twice, he doesn’t like it so we’ll keep it simple. I don’t think Imperial Commander should be worried but we’ll give it a go.”
Jimmy Moffatt’s Chief Dan George has his first start since winning the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham in March. He has some 40lb to find with Imperial Commander on official ratings but his trainer sees this race as an ideal starting point for the campaign.
“We’ve taken on Imperial Commander once before and beaten him. We beat him in the Sefton Hurdle at Aintree. That’s just a straw we can hold on to,” said Moffatt.
“The horse is in good form. He’ll gallop all the way to the line and he won’t disgrace himself. It might seem a bit odd running in the Betfair Chase with regard to the handicap mark, but it’s a small field and there is such a good prize we’re willing to give it a go.
“He won’t detract from the race. We’ll need a lot of luck, but we’re looking forward to it.”
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