Taquin set for Lexus trip

Jonjo O’Neill hopes extra experience will help enable Taquin Du Seuil to stay the three-mile trip in the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on December 28.

Taquin Du Seuil: Heads for the Lexus Chase

The nine-year-old has attempted the distance on four occasions in the past, but has always come up short.

His best effort was his first one, when second to Menorah in the 2014 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, but he was pulled up at Haydock three weeks later in the Betfair Chase.

The following February he was fourth, beaten 15 lengths, by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury, while last April, at Aintree, he was 28 lengths behind Cue Card in the Betfred Bowl.

However, this season his form improved dramatically when he won the BetVictor Handicap Chase at Cheltenham off a mark of 156. Over two and a half miles, it was arguably a career-best.

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He was meant to run in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham after that, but the good ground at the declaration stage prompted connections to scratch him, something they may well have regretted when conditions worsened throughout on the day of the race.

Plans have been firmed up for him now, though, with a trip to Ireland on the agenda.

"He's going to the Lexus," O'Neill told sportinglife.com. "He's in good old form so we'll take our chance there.

"The last few times he's tried the trip, at Newbury and Aintree, he didn't get it. But he's a year older, we'll try him once more and see how we get on."

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While there is obviously a concern over the distance, there are no such doubts over the worth of his Cheltenham form, as the beaten BetVictor horses performed with great credit a month later in the Caspian Caviar.

The second, Village Vic, third, Buywise, fourth, Aso, fifth, Bouvreuil and 10th, Frodon, finished third, seventh, second, sixth and first respectively in the big December handicap.

Sky Bet go 12/1 about Taquin Du Seuil in the Lexus Chase.

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