Taquin Du Seuil and Geraghty a potent combination
Jockey Barry Geraghty gets the leg up on Taquin Du Seuil for the first time in the Betfair Chase at Haydock today (3.00) and the pair look decent value to land the valuable Grade 1 contest.
The Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding enjoyed a terrific first season over fences when winning four of his six starts.
They included a 17 length victory at this venue, and a gutsy 3/4 length defeat of the classy Uxizandre in the 2m 4f JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
That latter performance marked Tagquin Du Seuil out as a big player for major staying chase honours this season, and there was plenty to like about his run last time out at Wetherby when second to Menorah in the Charlie Hall Chase.
The strapping son of Voix Du Nord got outpaced three from home before staying on strongly to go down by four lengths, and it was a run which suggested he was well worth a crack at today’s 3m 1f trip.
Taquin finished four lengths in front of the fifth home Silviniaco Conti, and although that one may well have needed the run I would expect Taquin to also improve again and fancy him to confirm the placings now fitted with the cheekpieces for the first time.
He does have work to do on the book to beat the winner Menorah who is now 5lb better off at the weights, but Taquin seems to have been brought along steadily with this race in mind and Geraghty looks the ideal partner to get the best out of him.
The two biggest dangers are likely to be the aforementioned Silviniaco Conti who won the race in 2012, and last year’s victor Cue Card.
Silviniaco is trained by the in-form Paul Nicholls who saddled the legendary Kauto Star to win the race on four occasions.
The eight-year-old ean out an impressive winner of the race himself two years ago, and went on to land the King George and Betfred Bowl after finishing third in last year’s renewal.
To me he was disappointing on his comeback run in the Charlie Hall where he held every chance before fading tamely, but his handler believes the son of Dom Alco will come on significantly for the outing and run a big race.
The Colin Tizzard trained Cue Card also failed to impress when a well beaten fourth on his seasonal reappearance in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
The eight-year-old came under pressure four from home and was one of the first beat, and weakened badly to be beaten just over 15 lengths.
Cue Card was also beaten in that race before impressively landing this contest 12 months ago by 4 1/4 lengths from Dynaste, but he now has questions to answer and looks worth opposing in my book.
If his handler has got Cue Card back to his best then there is little doubt that the son of King’s Theatre will be tough to beat, but Taquin Du seuil comes into the race in better heart and is fancied to take his crown.