Cheltenham win earns Scholfield Taranis ride in Gold Cup
Nick Scholfield looks to have earned a decent ride in the Gold Cup after shining aboard Taranis in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The Devon-born jockey is often used by trainer Paul Nicholls for his reserve horses but has thrown his name into the mix for the Gold Cup, where he will be up against the likes of Ruby Walsh, who is set to ride Kauto Star.
Taranis won the Ryanair Chase and the big chase at Down Royal in 2007 but had been off since damaging a leg in the King George of that year.
Scholfield had him settled beautifully before presenting him upside 7/4 favourite Carruthers on the turn for home and he galloped all the way to the line at odds of 16/1.
Nicholls said: "He'll go straight for the Gold Cup. Kauto and Denman are out in front but if this fellow improves a bit, and he should, he won't be far behind them."
A return to the smaller obstacles seems to have re-ignited the fire in Tidal Bay as he bounced back to his best with a fantastic display in the Betfair Cleeve Hurdle.
Trainer Howard Johnson reported: "We'll just keep him ticking over now, but we might as well keep him over hurdles for the time being and go for the World Hurdle."
Restless Harry had Robin Dickin dreaming of Festival glory after outgunning General Miller and Royal Charm in the Neptune Novices' Hurdle. "His next race will be the one before the Gold Cup back here in March (Albert Bartlett)," said Dickin.
At Plumpton yesterday, evergreen 10-year-old Kawagino earned his annual jaunt to Cheltenham with a gutsy success in the staying novices' handicap chase.
The Pertemps Hurdle Final on March 18 is the target for the Seamus Mullins-trained gelding.
Supersub Paul Moloney replaced the injured Noel Fehily to rule on King Brex in the two-mile novices' handicap chase.
The deputy got the 5/2 shot to put his best foot forward as, after tracking early leader Rileyev in the early stages, Moloney sent King Brex to the front after four fences.
Fehily damaged his shoulder in a fall from Den Of Iniquity at Cheltenham on Saturday and is due to see a specialist today.