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Paul Nicholls: Cheltenham going will dictate Tidal Bay's Festival plans

Which race will it be for Tidal Bay?

"If you asked me now, at this stage, what race I would be leaning towards at Cheltenham, it would be the World Hurdle. But if it came up soft there, then we really would have a decision to make."

The World Hurdle and Gold Cup are both possible Cheltenham Festival races for Tidal Bay - but it all depends on the ground, says Paul Nicholls

I see the Betfair ante-post markets have Tidal Bay at 11.010/1 for the World Hurdle and 34.033/1 for the Gold Cup.

However, I can tell you that no firm plans have been made for the horse, whatever those odds may imply.

And there won't be until I sit down and have a proper discussion with Mr Wylie.

Clearly, a lot will depend on the ground. If it was good ground at Cheltenham in March, then that would obviously make life difficult in the Gold Cup.

So I suppose if you asked me now, at this stage, what race I would be leaning towards at Cheltenham, it would be the World Hurdle.

But if it came up soft there, then we really would have a decision to make.

And I suppose a lot will depend on how he goes at the Cheltenham Trials Day at the end of the month. And indeed what race he goes for there. We have the option of the Cleeve Hurdle and the Argento.

So we keep our options open.

But I am really looking forward to running him in the Grand National. I think the race could be tailor-made for him.

But let's get Cheltenham out of the way this month, and keep an eye on the weather afterwards.

All of our big races this season have been run on soft and heavy ground, and those could be relatively meaningless if it turns up good or quicker in March and April. Punters would do well to remember that.

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11 January 2013

Paul Nicholls

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