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The Tullow Tank’s Cheltenham prep smacks of a Supreme Novices bid

The Tullow Tank maybe a shorter price at 8/1 in Coral’s Neptune Novices Hurdle betting, but if he keeps on delivering in the top 2m races in Ireland the 10/1 about him taking in the Supreme instead may begin to look more and more appealing.

Phillip Fenton is a name redolent of disappointment in the Cheltenham Festival’s famous curtain-raiser after his heavily-backed Dunguib was sunk at odds-on in 2010.

Yet despite intimations that he’s more likely to go for the 2m4f novice hurdle at the March jumps bonanza, his The Tullow Tank could be another Supreme prospect.

After the six-year-old bagged the second top-level novice prize of his career in Leopardstown’s Future Champions Novices Hurdle the Tipperary handler suggested his Prestbury Park assignment would be ground dependent, stating:

“If it came up soft he’d probably go for the Supreme, but if it was quicker we’d probably think about going for the longer race.”

However with his next aim likely to be the pursuit of a Grade 1 hat trick in the Deloitte at the same venue in February, the Tank is assembling some strong 2m form.

His last race and the one he aims to win next have both fed into the Supreme nicely in recent years.

Jezki took the Future Champions Novices Hurdle on the way to a close third behind Champagne Fever at Cheltenham last term.

Meanwhile all three winners of the Deloitte – the Tullow Tank’s next intended destination – to have contested the 2m novice race at the festival in the last 11 years have finished in the places, with two claiming victory.

Throughout the 2012/13 campaign it had looked as if Champagne Fever would contest a festival hurdle over further than the Supreme’s basement trip.

However after a Deloitte victory of his own, the Ricci’s gallant grey was eventually deployed in the festival-opener to victorious effect.

Clearly a strong-staying type The Tullow Tank could conceivably follow in his footsteps, with his price for the shorter contest bound to shrink like a pair of boiled socks should he scoot home in his next 2m test.