All options still open for Tidal Bay
Tidal Bay's Cheltenham Festival plans are set to become clearer after the popular performer lines up at the track on Trials Day at the end of the month.
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However Paul Nicholls says that no decision has yet been taken as to whether the recent Lexus Chase winner will tackle either the Argento Chase or the Cleeve Hurdle at that meeting, let alone a final call taken over his Festival target.
"No firm plans have been made for the horse, whatever the odds may imply," he told Betfair.com. "And there won't be until I sit down and have a proper discussion with Mr [Graham] Wylie [the horse's owner].
"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.
"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."