Tassie set to tackle stamina sapping Eider
Richard and Ben Howard’s stout stayer Silver Tassie is all set for a crack at what’s likely to be an extremely testing Betfred Eider Handicap Chase over four miles and half a furlong at Newcastle tomorrow (2.45).
The ten year old is unproven at such a marathon trip, but he’s shaped well enough over 3m2f to suggest that this sort of test might be right up his street and he comes here in top form after finishing a solid but never-nearer four lengths second to Smooth Stepper at Gosforth Park three weeks ago.
Smooth Stepper, with whom we’re now 7lbs better off, is among Silver Tassie’s sixteen opponents in tomorrow’s feature race, which was first run in 1952 and has been won by some high class stayers during its colourful history, including Toby Balding’s Highland Wedding, who won the Eider three times prior to his Grand National success in 1969 and more recently Comply Or Die, who completed the Eider and National double for David Pipe and Timmy Murphy ten years ago.
There are a couple of other lines of form that give Silver Tassie a really good shout if he sees out the trip, we just hope that it doesn’t turn out to be a real war of attrition like the last time we had a runner in the race, which was in 2011 when only three horses completed the course and Barry Keniry pulled Dawn Ride up a long way from the finish.
Alain Cawley, who’s ridden five winners from just 22 rides for us this season, keeps the ride on Silver Tassie and they have a lovely racing weight of 10st 4lbs, our horses seem to be in really good heart at the minute so we hope they can go well.
Our other runner on the card is Joe Buzzeo’s Applaus, who takes his chance in the novices’ chase over an extended two miles at 2.10.
This will be Applaus’ fourth start over fences and after being pulled up at Carlisle on his reappearance he’s gone on to run two perfectly respectable races, including over this course and distance in December when he finished second to Kauto Riko, who’s since gone on to better things.
He has plenty to find with three of his rivals, and Phil Kirby looks to have found Lady Buttons an excellent opportunity here with her mares’ allowance, but Applaus will love the heavy ground, he’s already proved better over fences than he was over hurdles and we hope he can make his presence felt. Sean Quinlan keeps the ride.