Tatenen form a cause for National concern

Andy Stewart, one of the leading owners in National Hunt racing and as owner of the great Big Buck's regular in the winners enclosure at major fixtures, could still be represented by Tatenen in the Grand National 2011 in less than three weeks time despite his gelding having performed below expectations at the recent Cheltenham Festival, writes Elliot Slater.


Formerly handled by champion trainer Paul Nicholls, for whom the Lost World gelding was a smart novice chaser a couple of seasons ago, Tatenen lost his way last term and ran consistently below par. Stewart felt that a change of scene might encourage the seven-year-old and turned to former jockey Richard Rowe to see if he could bring about a revival in the fortunes of a horse who was twice a runner-up in Grade 1 company in his pomp.


After two far from encouraging efforts under the Rowe banner Tatenen suddenly sparked into life under a fine ride from veteran rider Andrew Thornton when blazing a trail at Ascot in January and making all to beat the useful I'm A Legend by no less than 16-lengths in the Victor Chandler Handicap Chase. On the back of that effort Tatenen attracted some ante-post support at big odds for the John Smith's Grand National before fading badly on his next start in the Racing Post Chase having been prominent until the fourth from home. Those looking for horse betting tips wouldn't have been very impressed.


Running at Cheltenham last week in the ultra-competitive Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase, Tatenen jumped poorly on a number of occasions and was out of contention from the ninth fence, eventually trailing home in 11th of the 20 runners. That below-par run prompted bookmakers to push his Grand National odds out to 100/1 in places, but connections hope that the unique challenge of Aintree will revive the racing interest in a horse of undoubted talent - when he's in the mood.

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