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A number of comparisons can be drawn between Tidal Bay and Big Buck’s this time last year. The former Arkle winner had been struggling over fences before bouncing back to form in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham – a race which has been won by the subsequent World Hurdle winner for the past two years. He was held up that day and was actually looking in trouble turning in, but found plenty for pressure, albeit receiving a 4lb pull in the weights from runner-up Time For Rupert. The way he travels suggests he will trade big in-running, so look to get with Howard Johnson’s runner as soon as he looks in trouble.
Sentry Duty has only had the one run this season but is apparently a ‘10lb better horse’ when fresh. That race was a fairly comfortable victory at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, beating Katchit and Mr Thriller, dispelling the theory that he doesn’t handle the undulations of Prestbury Park. He is a classy horse and travels beautifully throughout his races, although the big question for punters here is if he will stay. No-one knows the answer to that question – not even his trainer Nicky Henderson – but the strength in which he travels suggests he will trade shorter. He is up against top quality, gutsy stayers in Big Buck’s and Tidal Bay though and I’d prefer to press the exit button before the final two flights.
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