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Last Updated: February 22, 2013 6:00pm
Gordon Elliott: Says Tarquinius has an each-way chance
Philip Kirby is optimistic of the hat-trick seeking Cool Operator running a big race in the Betfred Eider Chase after being forced to miss the Coral Welsh National.
The Middleham trainer decided to target the 10-year-old at the Newcastle marathon on Saturday after a minor setback ruled him out of the Chepstow feature.
Cool Operator had been in top form, winning his first two races of the winter at Uttoxeter and Carlisle.
"He seems in really good order and has had a nice break," said Kirby.
"Once he missed the Welsh National he was always going to go to Newcastle. Hopefully he'll run a big race.
"It was just something and nothing that caused him to miss Chepstow.
"He was fine two days later, but we just didn't want to take him down there as he was a bit tender.
"I think he'll get the trip. I suppose it has to be a concern, but he settles and pops away.
"He doesn't do anything exuberant and hopefully he'll travel well within himself."
Chris Bealby has no doubts on the stamina front about Chac Du Cadran, who was a eight-length winner of the North Yorkshire Grand National over three and three-quarter miles at Catterick last month.
"Stamina seems to be his strong suit. We stepped him up to three-miles-six at Catterick and he was relentless," said the Lincolnshire handler.
"He kept going, and hopefully another three furlongs at Newcastle won't inconvenience him too much.
"He's gone up 11lb, it's another grade up and hopefully he's on the way up as well."
David Pipe sent out Comply or Die to lift this prize in 2008 and is double-handed with top-weight Master Overseer and Big Occasion this time.
"Master Overseer has got a lot of weight but we are claiming 7lb off him (with conditional Tom Bellamy)," said the Nicholashayne trainer. "If he runs to his best form he'd have a chance.
"Big Occasion is at the other end of the weights and if he were to get the four miles then he could also run a nice race."
This race has been the target for Captain Americo since he finished second in the Borders National at Kelso in December. Third in last year's Eider, his trainer James Ewart is hoping for another solid performance.
"He's in good form and we're very happy with him," said the Langholm handler.
"This race has been the plan since he ran in the Borders National.
"He doesn't run well back to back quickly. He needs large gaps between his races and this seemed a sensible opportunity."
Mortimers Cross defeated Captain Americo when winning the Borders National and his owner/trainer John Needham has his fingers crossed the 12-year-old can put behind him a disappointing run at Ffos Las on Boxing Day.
"He seems fine and he's not been out since Boxing Day when he was disappointing. Perhaps that run came too soon after Kelso," said the Ludlow handler.
"We are keeping our fingers crossed and Andrew Thornton who rode him at Fontwell said we should run him in the Eider."
Tom George is looking for a good run from Monsieur Cadou, who has not run since winning at Haydock in November.
"We were really pleased with his last run at Haydock and we've sat tight with him since then. This race has been the plan for a while," said George.
"The way he was staying on at Haydock suggests the trip will suit him well and he does seem to have found improvement since tackling extreme distances."
The sole Irish challenger is Tarquinius, who was just touched off by Jadanli in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran.
Trainer Gordon Elliott feels the handicapper has been a bit harsh on the 10-year-old grey, but he is still hoping for a good run.
"He came to us rated 100 over fences and he's rated 136 now. The handicapper must think we have worked a miracle, but he's going there with an each-way chance," the County Meath handler told At The Races.
"Had he jumped the third-last better at Gowran he might have won - he got beat a head. He's a honest little horse and he jumps and he stays."