Tataniano and Sizing Europe stake leading Arkle claims

Racehorses seldom stick to the script as scrupulously as Tataniano did here at Cheltenham yesterday. Seconds after Sizing Europe had coasted over the line at Punchestown, in the process setting a merciless standard in this division, the tapes went up for the 10th running of the Independent Newspaper Novices' Chase – and Tataniano promptly produced a performance that already makes their projected showdown here in March something to warm the cockles during long evenings in the meantime.

Paul Nicholls, the champion trainer, had saddled Tatenen to a runaway success in the same colours last year, but preferred to compare Tataniano to another of his previous winners, Azertyuiop, who went on to win both the Arkle Trophy and the Queen Mother Champion Chase itself. "Tatenen was always a hype horse," he said dismissively. "He's slow, wants three miles. He was flat out in the Arkle and he was flat out here on Saturday. This one is more in the mould of Azertyuiop. He has all the speed in the world."

Tataniano certainly handled the fences with remarkable alacrity, barely breaking stride as he hurtled from one to the next. True, he only had three pursuers and the most competent of them, Fosters Cross, was clinging to his coat-tails, about three lengths down, when slipping and unseating three out. But it was difficult not to be impressed with the energy Tataniano retained for the hill, never in any danger as Pigeon Island toiled his way into second, six lengths away.

"We did have concerns about the ground," Nicholls said, "but knew we would make the running and there's some fresh ground along the inside. He will only have one more run before the Festival, probably over Christmas, because he's one of those that is better kept fresh."

"He was very sure what he was doing," winning jockey Ruby Walsh said. "He had the choke open and was going a right lick over the first couple of fences. He was very quick to take off and land. Last year we were going two and a half miles with him but he is probably a flat-out two-miler"

Paddy Power offered just 5-1 against Tataniano for the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy, but Cashman, will lay twice those odds. Nobody will be taking anything for granted with Sizing Europe on the scene, now widely quoted as 6-1 favourite.

Despite desperate conditions, Sizing Europe again looked a natural over fences jumping impeccably under Andrew McNamara before cruising home from a decent field. Henry de Bromhead, his trainer, indicated that he would probably be seen next at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting. It was two years to the day since Sizing Europe announced himself as a top-class hurdler, in a big handicap at Cheltenham. His destiny seems more explicit now, but for the moment it is one he must share with Tataniano.

Turf account: Chris McGrath

*NAP

Lady De La Vega (3.40 Leicester)

Showed ability in her point-to-point and bumper education and again in the three hurdle runs required for a handicap rating. This step up in trip can allow her to show her true colours.



*NEXT BEST

Wheels Up (1.20 Plumpton)

Became disappointing in Ireland but a change of stable might prompt him to confirm himself very fairly treated on his best form.

*ONE TO WATCH

Fredo (Ian Williams) evidently needed the run on his return at Stratford last month because he stormed up the hill for third behind Lord Ragnar at Cheltenham on Friday to confirm that he is handicapped to improve beyond two miles.



*WHERE THE MONEY'S GOING

Tell Massini is 14-1 for the Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after his success over the course yesterday.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness