Paul Nicholls: World Hurdle is Tidal's target while Conti gives us a Gold Cup boost

It's likely to be the World Hurdle for Tidal Bay

Paul confirms he is leaning towards the World Hurdle with Tidal Bay and reflects on the achievements of his horses from Saturday's Betfair-sponsored card at Newbury where Silviniaco Conti confirmed his Gold Cup credentials

"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 Silviniaco Conti's first run of the season."

We have yet to finalise plans but we are now highly likely to run Tidal Bay in the World Hurdle.

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 but two of our other big Festival hopes run next weekend. Zarkandar will go for the Kingwell at Wincanton, and Rocky Creek goes to the Reynoldstown at Ascot.

Looking back on yesterday's racing, I was absolutely chuffed with Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Denman Chase

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.

He had been working with Unioniste leading up to Newbury, and Unioniste had a right old blow after narrowly winning his race. He will be a much better horse with that run behind him and when involved in a better-run race, where he can get a lead. But he jumped great again, as did Conti. 

He goes straight to Cheltenham and the Sun Alliance is the plan, but if it came up heavy then the Jewson could become an option.

Lac Fontana may not have won but he delighted us in finishing second to a good horse, especially as he had to overcome traffic problems.

We are not going to worry about winning a maiden hurdle with him. He will now go to the Adonis at Kempton in a fortnight's time, and if he wins there the Triumph is on the agenda. 

Pearl Swan ran below expectations in the Betfair Hurdle - he ran far too free, so put a line through that run - but Fago was the one that got away yesterday, as he was travelling hard on the bit when falling. I don't like going to Cheltenham on the back of a fall, but he is fine and the Pendil Novice Chase over 2m4f at Kempton or the 2m1f novice at Sandown in the next couple of weeks are options for him.

It was good to see Denman looking so well yesterday - it is great that he is living such an active life and clearly enjoying it so much - and also that he still has a bit of edge and bite about him. Quite literally.

Paul Barber can testify to that as when he fed him some polos yesterday, Denman not only took them, he also took a chunk out of his palm too and drew blood.

Probably just letting him know who is the boss, still!

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