A NEW gallop, no more cows and a team full of stars.
Once again Colin Tizzard means business and Sun Racing have an exclusive stable tour with the West Country trainer as the jumps season clicks into gear.
There’s two discussions we’re having at the moment.
Whether we try to win the Grand National with him and start him off in the Becher Chase with him next month. Or we take him up to the Betfair Chase and try and make him a Gold Cup horse again.
He’s still young and ran as a six-year-old in the Gold Cup and won the Welsh National really well off top weight. He’s a good horse and he could yet be better. It’s still in the air with him to be honest. But if he can improve six or eight pounds he could be placing in a Gold Cup.
He is a massive horse and we’re mapped out to Wetherby for the Charlie Hall before a crack at the Betfair Chase at Haydock and then onto the King George.
That’s his little warmup before Christmas!
I know he improved for the step up in trip at Aintree, but we were the fresher horse that day [against Topofthegame] and I don’t think it’s just going further that saw us improve.
He’d had a tough race in the RSA up that hill and we’d gone up against Defi De Seuil again and just got done for toe there. We didn’t have a hard race at Cheltenham.
We will be aiming at the Gold Cup then. He could have a freshen up after the King George or we could find him another prep.
Watching the weather, Haydock is certainly heavy at the moment and we may take in the Betfair Chase with him. He is ground dependent we know that.
We were thinking about the Welsh National, but to go there off that rating is a big task and that might not be right for him.
The King George wasn’t great for him.
I think that Haydock race looks more and more attractive at the moment, especially if the weather stays the same.
The owners have got their passports ready though in case we go over to Ireland. We want to run him on soft ground and we’ll go looking for that in all honesty.
I’m sure he’ll go to the Gold Cup down the line, he’s been there for the last five meetings starting out with that second in the National Hunt Chase.
Then he’s been third in a Gold Cup, won the Gold Cup and fourth in the Gold Cup. They said it was Good to Soft in it last year, but that was rubbish.
He’s had some mighty hard races in his time but that’s not to say he’s not good enough to have another go.
The Gold Cup will be in his favour if it comes up heavy and we’d have a big chance again. If it doesn’t come up testing we’d probably have to settle for a place again.
They went fast last year that’s why he got into it, the year before the race was won in a time 36 seconds slower which shows you the difference.
He had a small injury at the back of his hock after Cheltenham. He’s still doing his work at his prep yard but is coming back in over the next week.
He may have a racecourse gallop and go for the King George. People tend to forget that he was second in it last year and looked the winner much of the way.
He could have a prep race before that if needed but he won’t make Haydock.
He may go over hurdles, we have to keep an open book on that.
I can see him having his first race over hurdles as a prep then seeing where we are and leaving our options open as it is an open division.
Colin Tizzard on season ahead
"We’ve had over the last five or six years we’ve always had a superstar. But to be fair last year none of the big guns quite got to that level of a Cue Card or Thistlecrack in their pomp.
So we did well to bring in the money we did considering that. We go to two millions so our job is to try and get back there.
It’s a long way back to that but we have got some lovely young horses coming though and we’ve refurbished all our gallops, making them longer. That should improve some horses and hopefully if we can avoid the bad luck along the way we’ll be laughing."
We’ll run him at Chepstow next weekend. Robbie Power came over and schooled him yesterday and he looks like a chaser already.
Horses like him are rare, he’s already won two Grade 1s and as tempting as it was to keep him over hurdles, Cue Card, Native River, Finian’s Oscar all went to that Chepstow race and gone on from there all as five-year-olds.
That’s where I think we’ll go and Robbie rides for those owners anyway so it all works perfectly.
He’s going to keep coming over as much as possible when there’s no racing in Ireland.
We’ll take Chepstow in first and go from there, there isn’t much more planned just yet.
Elixir De Nutz
He’s had the summer off to get over the little ligament rouble he had. He’s back in cantering well now though and we’re going to stay over hurdles with him, and try and make him our Champion Hurdle horse.
If he can improve 10lbs then he can be in the mix. He’s a Grade 1 winner over two miles and we don’t quite know how good he is yet.
I don’t think we’ll have him ready to go until Christmas time but I’m hoping we can have him for the big races in the spring as we don’t want any re-occurrences of that injury.
Hopefully he can go in all those big hurdle races through the spring. When you have racehorses they can pick up little injuries and if you don’t give them the chance to get over them it will come back to bite.
He’s got to come back and prove he can improve so that will be the first challenge. But he’s still young and who knows.
Vision Des Flos
Our plan with him is to go over fences. He ran a lovely race in Ireland [Champion Stayers] until he seemingly just stopped after the last, he could have almost won it!
He will stay going forward and we bought him as a chaser. He had a go chasing at Ffos Las last season and it didn’t quite go to plan so we stayed over hurdles and he won close to £70,000 including that Grade 2 at Fontwell.
We just need to win our first novice chase with him and then hopefully we can start planning some nice targets for him.
The novice chase at Kempton could be his target down the line if it goes to plan. The three mile Kauto Star could be the one for him, that should suit him.
The plan is to run him once and then run him in the Ladbrokes at Newbury.
We have a good record in this race with similar types, second season chasers rated around the 150 mark are perfect for it these days.
Robbie Power has been over to school him and he could go to Wetherby for a hurdle to save his handicap mark.
We want to give him the best chance possible to win the Newbury pot so there’s not much point winning a chase with him to lumber around another 6lbs.
We’ve won two of the last three at Newbury and we’d like to keep him on the mark he’s currently on!
We’ll try the similar route with him again. He’s 10lbs better over hurdles than he is over fences, he’s just a bit careful over his fences, he jumps a bit high.
Over hurdles he shook up Paisley Park once last year and we have him well forward this year.
He could go to Wetherby for the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle. He came fifth in the Ladbrokes last year though so we haven’t quite ruled out a repeat of that just yet.
He had some trouble last year and my job this year is to get him on the track in the best shape possible.
We started cantering him today and he’ll be ready around Christmas time. The summer before he didn’t go out as he had an injury behind his knee, but this time around he’s had a full summer out on the grass and he has to pick up again but we’re hopeful. He showed in glimpses last year that he’s there as good as ever at times.
He’s a class horse and we’re looking forward to him after Christmas but we have to get there first.
We scoped him after Aintree and he had ulcers and we cauterised his palette over the summer. From winning the Albert Bartlett he hasn’t shown that form since.
But we’ve done his wind as well now and we’re hoping that can get him back on track. He ran his big race at Cheltenham and that may have been it but we’re hopeful. The owners are keen to stay over hurdles.
It’s an open division and because he was only a moderate point-to-pointer so it doesn’t make much sense going over fences again when he can be a very competitive hurdler.
He looked as though he was coming to win in his first run at Cheltenham and then he fell. I think that frightened him a bit and his jumping suffered. He’s had a wind-op as we had a bit of doubt about his breathing.
He could be anything. The way he won at Sandown was remarkable, he won hard held.
Then he got knocked over at the first at Aintree and injured his hock. It was one of those days, a loose horse knocked him and that was that. It’s racing, you can’t predict it!
He’s back ready now though and we’ll find a handicap with him in the next six weeks or so. We wouldn’t know how good he is, he just has to do that Sandown performance again.
He’s had his little problems but I think we’re there now. He came out of that bumper where he was behind that McFabulous who is a smart horse.
But he’s well this year and he wants soft ground. He’ll be ready for a novice in the next month or so and is a horse we’ve always liked. He’s only raced twice in his life, and that point form is highly respected and he has a good engine for sure.
We’ll try and get half a dozen or so runs into him this year and have him as a chaser next year.
The Big Breakaway
Sometimes you can spend a fortune on a horse and they don’t deliver. But we’ve got some owners together to buy this one and he’s one of the most gorgeous horses you’ll see on the gallops.
You wouldn’t think he was only a four-year-old. He’s only been out once where he won his point-to point.
But he’s just a gorgeous horse, we’ll start him off a nice galloping track somewhere over two-and-a-half miles and see where we are with him.
But we’ve been nothing but impressed with him so far.
She had some smart form behind the Harry Fry horse [Misty Whisky].
We’ll start her off over hurdles now as she jumps beautifully.
She’s been held back slightly by her splints over the last couple of seasons but touch wood she seems over those now.
She’s a lovely mare, we’ll start off quietly with her but we do think she could be good down the line.
He’ll make a lovely chaser. He won his last two hurdles and we’ve schooled him this week and he’s been brilliant.
Whatever he did over hurdles was a complete bonus as he’ll be 20lbs better over fences at least.
We jumped fifty horses in the week and I reckon he jumped better than anyone. He’s always looked like a chaser and is one to watch hopefully.
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