Good ground will be essential if Tataniano is to run in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but owner Andy Stewert remains optimistic that he will take his place in the Cheltenham line-up.
Tataniano is 12/1 in the Champion Chase betting odds and this is a big price if he can reproduce the form that made him one of horse racing’s most anticipated prospects ahead of last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Paul Nicholls’ seven-year-old was slightly disappointing on his only run of the season to date, which was at Cheltenham in November, but not only was this his seasonal reappearance, but was also run on his unfavoured soft ground.
Connections are hopeful of brushing off any cobwebs by giving Tataniano another run ahead of March’s Festival, with the wet weather of the winter keeping him off the course since.
The Game Spirit Chase at Newbury is looking the most likely event for his reappearance and a decent performance will ensure his entry at Cheltenham.
Looking at his best form, Tataniano would have to have a big chance in the Champion Chase and was widely regarded in the not too distant past to be perhaps the best two-mile chaser in the Nicholls yard.
He has two wins from his previous four starts at Cheltenham, which means the course should pose him no serious threats, but his fussiness over the ground remains the one sticking point.
Tataniano has triumphed in all five career starts on good ground, while has only ever won on one occasion when the ground has been classed as soft or heavy.
Nicholls has three big chances of winning the Champion Chase as he also trains Cheltenham betting favourite Master Minded at 5/2, alongside 6/1 contender Woolcombe Folly.
A £25 stake on Tataniano winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase would return £300. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.