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Taquin Du Seuil to relish stamina test at Haydock

Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has made no secret of the fact that he regards Taquin Du Seuil as his best chasing prospect for some time. He has shown sufficient speed to win over two miles this season but the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown convinced O’Neill that he really wants further.

He was always going a stride faster than he wanted that day and a couple of mistakes put paid to his chances behind Hinterland and Grandouet. There was nothing wrong with his effort at Cheltenham last time when he could not quite get to grips with Oscar Whisky.

The two miles and five furlongs in heavy ground at Haydock should bring out the best in him but he has a serious rival in O’Faolains Boy. Barry Geraghty teams up with the Rebecca Curtis runner who ran a promising race at Ascot in December.

It is a big day for David Pipe with the eagerly awaited debut of French import Un Temps Pour Tout. His French form includes a third to Ptit Zig who runs in the Champion Hurdle trial later in the day.

This will be no easy introduction for Pipe’s runner with impressive winners Zamdy Man, Meadowcroft Boy and Stand To Reason in opposition. Aidan Coleman passes up some good rides at Ascot to partner Zamdy Man and he looks sure to make this a good test.

Ptit Zig is strongly fancied to win the Champion Hurdle trial at the main expense of Melodic Rendezvous. A good victory here may see his price of 33-1 clipped for the Cheltenham festival.

The Peter Marsh Chase looks like a good opportunity for Jonjo O’Neill’s Merry King to get off the mark for the season. He was fifth in the Hennessy and the Welsh National and the fitting of a visor may bring about the necessary improvement.

Chance Du Roy looks capable of running a big race after battling on bravely to win at Aintree last time. Philip Hobbs has several fancied runners at Ascot and it could be a good day for the yard.

Selections: 12.20 Ugly Bug, 12.55 Trustan Times, 1.30 Taquin Du Seuil, 2.05 Zamdy Man, 2.40 Ptit Zig, 3.15 Merry King, Chance Du Roy (each-way), 3.50 Greensalt