Stewart: Don’t rule Tatenen out

The sun ought to shine for Fontwell's Thursday afternoon racing

Irish raiders among the Fontwell fields

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TATENEN has been tipped to spring a surprise in the most famous race of them all.

Trained near Storrington, West Sussex by Richard Rowe – the eight-year-old Lost World gelding is a 100/1-shot for the prestigious Grand National at Aintree tomorrow.

However, the chaser’s owner Andy Stewart reckons fears over his talent’s stamina will prove unfounded in the Grade 3 handicap (4.15pm).

Tatenen was the favourite for the 2009 Arkle at Cheltenham but fell at the third fence.

He struggled to find his feet after that, prompting a switch from champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ yard to Rowe’s operation in 2010.

The move has paid off, too, as the French-bred charge has delivered two valuable chase wins at Ascot in an impressive past 15 months.

Stewart is due some luck in the four-and-a-half-mile marathon as well, after watching Ornais suffer a fatal fall in last year’s race.

And after roaring his stellar hurdler Big Buck’s to a record-breaking 17th straight victory in yesterday’s Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle, the owner is looking forward to the mouth-watering battle.

‘Tatenen was favourite for an Arkle after winning the Arkle Trial but he just lacks that bit of Cheltenham class,’ Stewart said.

‘The two valuable Victor Chandler handicap chases he’s won at Ascot with Andrew Thornton on board have been over two miles, six furlongs.

‘But I have this view that the Grand National is not a four-and-a-half-mile race – it’s a two-mile race, then another two-and-a-half-mile race.

‘That’s why you get horses like Blowing Wind running into a place and Don’t Push It showed he had that class.

‘We had mixed emotions last year with Ornais but we support the race and we hope they all come home safe.’

Two former winners of the Southern National – held each November at Fontwell – will also go for glory tomorrow.

Holder Giles Cross is a 16/1-shot, while 2008 winner Hello Bud is another 100/1 outsider to land the £547,268 purse.