First in a regular column as I look at the National Hunt sphere with horses who have caught the eye and can make your betting pay over the winter with all roads leading to the Cheltenham Festival.
Tataniano made a pleasing re-appearance on the 22nd of October in a Class 2 Handicap Chase at Chepstow, making all and readily quickening away. A smart chaser, he failed to live up to expectations last season when suffering a few setbacks. The seven-year-old gelding is an exciting horse to watch, preferring to bowl along at the head of affairs and he won’t let you down in the jumping department.
On Timeform figures Tataniano ran to 170 in giving 21lb and an eight-length beating to Nomcheski in the aforementioned Chepstow handicap. Tataniano’s optimum trip looks to be the minimum jumps trip and that 170 rating shapes very nicely when you consider the average Timeform figure for the winner of the Tingle Creek over the last five years has been 164 and the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham 169.
Any very soft ground would rule Tataniano out of the reckoning as witnessed in January 2010 at Newbury when he was turned over at odds of 2-11 by Suntini who was only officially rated 118.
Entered at Cheltenham on Sunday his main target is the Tingle Creek for which there are no prices yet and he is a 16-1 chance for the Champion Chase.
Another Paul Nicholls’ charge Silviniaco Conti was comprehensively defeated on his chase debut by the impressive Cue Card. Silviniaco Conti left that run behind when landing the Grade 2 Rising Stars Novice Chase at Wincanton by 25 lengths. The faster pace of the race was key here as he left decent opposition trailing in his wake. Silviniaco Conti was a good hurdler – Timeform rated 162 and his chase mark has already reached 145p after just two outings over the larger obstacles. The third-highest rated hurdler in the Nicholls yard a year ago behind Big Bucks and Celestial Halo his chasing career has long been anticipated and he should be followed over the course of the season with the Feltham on Boxing Day within his compass.