Grand National hope for West Sussex

Grand National hope: Tatenen with Sulllington trainer Richard Rowe
Grand National hope: Tatenen with Sulllington trainer Richard Rowe

THE South Downs area is set to have a locally-trained horse to cheer on in the Grand National this year. Tatenen, trained by Richard Rowe at Ashleigh House Stables, Sullington will be entered for the big race.

His entry has been confirmed following an outstanding feat on Saturday when Richard sent out Tatenen to win the valuable Handicap Chase at Ascot for the second successive year.

Last year, Tatenen spreadeagled the field. But this year’s task was more difficult with Tatenen having gone up in the weights and facing much tougher opposition.

Owner Andy Stewart flew in from Barbados to see the victory, when jockey Andrew Thornton kicked on a long way out.

When Tatenen started to toil after the final fence. his jockey kept him going to win by a head at 8-1 from I’m Singing The Blues, while favourite Zeynar finished back in fourth place.

The winning jockey said: “It’s a case of deja vu. He had got 6lb more on his back this year. He’s hard as nails and he gave everything.”

Rowe added: “Any winner is lovely, but this is a bit special - it’s what we get up early in the morning for. I’m pleased Andy Stewart is here as he didn’t make it last year.

“Tatenen will now go for the Racing Plus Chase and is entered for the Grand National, although that is a long way ahead yet. He was entered in the National last year, but I felt the horse was not ready for it yet and he never took up the entry.”

Tatenen, along with Watergate, another of the Stewart family’s horses, was originally sent to Richard from Champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ yard for a change of scene. Both have rewarded individual attention they get at Ashleigh House Stables with victories, and Watergate, having won over hurdles, has a win over fences under his belt this season.

No attention to detail is spared and Tatenen has a heat therapy pad on his back every morning prior to exercise, and for an hour afterwards, to ensure his mucles stay supple. The writing was on the wall for Saturday’s win when he performed well last Thursday in a schooling session with Andrew Thornton over fences at Ashleigh House Stables.