Colin and Joe Tizzard opened the doors of Spurles Farm in Dorset today for a media stable visit organised by The Jockey Club ahead of The Festival™ at Cheltenham (Tuesday 15th March – Friday 18th March inclusive).
Trainer Colin has saddled seven Festival winners in total, headed by Native River’s courageous victory in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Ahead of next season, Tizzard Sr is set to hand over the licence to his Festival-winning rider son Joe.
Looking to the final Festival with Colin’s name on the training licence, son Joe said: “Dad is not going to disappear when it changes. He will still be up on the gallops every day as it is a family business, so nothing changes on that front.
“If we have a Cheltenham winner he will take full plaudits and so he should as he has been here all the way through and is still part of it.”
Colin Tizzard’s seven winners at The Festival:
2010 Cue Card - Weatherbys Champion Bumper
2011 Oiseau De Nuit - Johnny Henderson Grand Annual
2013 Golden Chieftain - Ultima Handicap Chase
2013 Cue Card - Ryanair Chase
2016 Thistlecrack - Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle
2018 Kilbricken Storm - Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
2018 Native River - Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup
On their team for the 2022 Festival, Joe Tizzard said: “We are a bit light on numbers, there is no two ways about it. You get those elite horses - they are hard to come by and we have been lucky to have them through the years.
“Cue Card kept taking us to the biggest stage as did Native River. We’ve got some youngsters who will hopefully progress to that stage. I think we have got some chances in the handicaps but we haven’t got a stand-out horse that is for certain.
“Eldorado Allen is the highest-rated one going into it now off the back of winning the Denman and he would have to have a competitive each-way chance. The two in the Grand Annual you wouldn’t be surprised if they ran big races and if you got a bit of soft ground and something happened to Edwardstone, then War Lord sneaks in the Arkle. They would be the four main ones.
“We had a bad season last season but had a good Cheltenham, getting a few places. But there is nothing like winning. It wasn’t much fun at Cheltenham last season either because there was no one there and we weren’t mixing with the Irish. It will be nice to get back there and have crowds there.”
Joe Tizzard also spoke of Ireland’s huge success at the 2021 Festival and added: “This Irish domination is not something that we will fix overnight but I don’t think it will be the same necessarily in four or five years. We will win more than five races this year, I’m sure of it.
“We have got to keep doing what we do, trust what we do and how you source your horses and back yourself. You’d be lying if you said I was fine with the Irish coming over and winning them all. There is no point going not to be competitive.
“We are not more relaxed. Our team of horses going there, we will put in as much effort making sure they are as good as they can be as they have got a chance of running a big race.
“We’ve had 40-1 winners. Cue Card was 40-1 when he won the Champion Bumper and Kilbricken Storm and Golden Chieftain both snuck in at big prices so it is do-able and we are concentrating as much as ever. Just at the moment we haven’t got a Gold Cup horse.
“We’ve had a good season this season and it was tough last season. For whatever reason they weren’t quite right and yards go through that but we’ve sorted it out and we are having a strong season now.”
Of Eldorado Allen, Tizzard continued: “We are going to run him in the Ryanair Chase. There was talk about sticking him in the Gold Cup after he won the Denman but it is £30,000 to supplement.
“I reckon if it was £10,000 they might have done it. I’m not sure he is an out and out stayer. We’ve all had a chat - Dad, me, Jon Romans and Terry Warner (owners) and for now I think he is a Ryanair horse.
“There is a big difference between just under three miles on good ground at Newbury to three and a quarter miles in a Gold Cup. I think he would travel in a Gold Cup and he could have a crack at that next year.
“I think we can go Ryanair then maybe the Betfair Bowl at Aintree and having him wound up for a Charlie Hall next season. It has opened up another window.
“We started off winning the Haldon Gold Cup over two and a quarter (miles). The handicapper put him up 11lbs for winning the Denman which I thought was ridiculous but they obviously rate the form.
“We ran him in it as it might be too quick ground for Royale Pagaille and we might be able to do him for toe and Clan Des Obeaux wasn’t guaranteed to run his race but the handicapper took it as bare form.
“He has always been a nice horse. I think he goes into the Ryanair with a nice chance. He doesn’t mind a bit of decent ground. Allaho will take a hell of a lot of beating but you shouldn’t be afraid of one horse. I’m not saying we can beat him but I’d rather him in a Ryanair at this stage than over 3m 2f in a Gold Cup.”
JOE TIZZARD’S COMMENTS ON REST OF TEAM FOR THE FESTIVAL
JPR One (Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle)
“He was a bit disappointing in the Betfair Hurdle but it blew his mind a little bit. He was cantering around at the start and ran the whole race on one breath. I want to get the big day experiences into him and I want to take him to Cheltenham and Aintree so that he learns for next year and that he is aware of the situation and gets used to the crowd.
“He is a gorgeous looking horse and he has some cracking form from his first three runs. We can draw a line through his Betfair run. I’m not expecting him to win the Supreme but I think that he is above average and I think he can finish in the first half a dozen. I just want to get that experience into him so he knows going forward what it is all about. This won’t do him any harm at all running in this big, competitive race.
“I think he has got a lot of talent and I think he will be a better chaser next season. You can forgive everything for one bad run. He is pretty settled at home. He has been good at small tracks like Exeter and Taunton and in the five runner race at Cheltenham, but he went to the Betfair and just got himself a little bit excited and he ran with the choke out. He has got to learn to save a bit and race basically.
“He is a talented young horse who we think a lot of. He looked like he was going to win everywhere that day at Cheltenham and he just got chinned on the line. He has just got to make sure he doesn’t over-race. In a Supreme he will be able to settle in and get covered up. It will give him a really nice education. Anything he achieves he will be a bonus. He is fast enough for two miles but we have run him over two and a half as we needed to get him qualified for the Betfair Hurdle but for now he is quick enough for two.”
War Lord (Sporting Life Arkle Novices’ Chase)
“He has had a hell of a season and has done absolutely nothing wrong. He won nicely at Newton Abbot at the start of the season then he went up to Carlisle and won well there.
“He was second in a Henry VIII behind Edwardstone and then was probably at his most impressive at Lingfield. He certainly wouldn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground as he proved that over hurdles last season. He has just improved no end for going chasing. He is a really accurate jumper.
“Take Edwardstone out and it is a wide open Arkle. There is not going to be stacks of runners. I see no reason why he couldn’t sneak a place in it. He is a good solid traveller and jumper. He could run a big race in the Arkle. We will be doing well to reverse the form with Edwardstone from Sandown but you should never be afraid of one horse. He has earnt his place there. He has definitely improved all season.
“He won a nice handicap hurdle at Haydock last season then he was exposed a bit. We knew he could jump and last season we schooled him over fences but we decided to have another season hurdling. His jumping is his main thing. He is a quick, accurate jumper. He was a two and a half mile hurdler but we have managed to drop back to two miles because of his jumping. You have got to stay in an Arkle - there are no two ways about it.
“He won in October down at Newton Abbot on decent ground but he handled that soft ground at Lingfield really well - better than most. He has got that turn of pace on softer ground. He is a live each-way chance and he has the right rating to have earned his place.”
Lostinstranslation (Ultima Handicap Chase)
“He has got very ground-dependent as he has got older. Robbie Power has always said he wants good ground as he is a Flemensfirth. You could see at Ascot after the third fence he was hating the ground. He didn’t have a hard race.
“He has dropped to 155 so we are going to run him in the Ultima. He has never run in a handicap in his whole life. He has always been weight for age races or graded races. He has come in his coat really well.
“He wouldn’t want it worse than good to soft simple as that. If you go back to his form on decent ground at Ascot in the autumn there is no reason he couldn’t run well in an Ultima.
“You go back to his third in the Gold Cup off of 155 he should be very competitive. There are a few question marks to answer but hopefully it will dry out for him and he can run a good race. Graded horses in handicaps normally find it that bit slower and are able to travel and that is what we are hoping will happen with him.
“The King George was a funny race. We have taken him to Kempton a few times and it has not happened for him. It was just too soft for him at Ascot. I looked at the Ascot race for a month before and I thought this is the perfect race for him but it went too soft for him.
“He is a 10 year old and I don’t know what horse will turn up to a degree but we will get him as right as possible and hopefully get a bit of decent ground and hope that he enjoys himself for the first couple of miles as he is going half a gear slower.
“On official ratings we are more than a stone wrong with the Gold Cup and Ryanair horses but if off 155 he gets into his rhythm and starts enjoying himself he could be quite tasty.
“I’m loving Frodon’s entry. Paul is talking about turning up with him and we have got 11st 3lbs so it would be really nice if he stays in.”
Scarface (Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle)
“He is a horse that if you said to me at the start of the season would be a Cheltenham horse I would have laughed at you to be honest, but he has just improved with every single run. He is a big price but I could see him finishing sixth or seventh and learning loads from being in there.
“He travelled great at Ascot the other day but he didn't quite go through with it. I could see him learning loads, then being very competitive at Aintree. It is a hot division that he is in but he keeps taking steps forward in all his home work.
“If he stays a novice it doesn’t matter. The boys are all up for taking him there. You are just as well to run in these big races and get some experience. If he happens to win one it is a big one. It was a pleasure to watch how he travelled through it last time. He is just filling out into a nice horse.
“You have got those early races for him next season like the Persian War at Chepstow if he doesn’t win any of these sort of races. He finished fifth in his bumper at Ffos Las and he came back from that and improved no end and then he went and ran quite nicely at Ascot.
“He wasn’t that big a horse and he was quite light but he has just grown. Some horses shrivel up for training but he has just blossomed into it. Physically he has grown into a nice horse.”
Amarillo Sky & Elixir De Nutz (Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase)
“Amarillo Sky is off 143 now and he went up 8lbs for winning at Newbury the other day. He will run in the Grand Annual. He looked like he was going to win the time before at Newbury but he had a horrible fall two out. That didn’t bother him at all.
“He was quite impressive beating ShakemUp’Arry last time at Newbury. He is a progressive horse and is a great jumper. I think he has got a good chance in the Grand Annual. He is a big horse but he wasn’t when we got him at Cheltenham. He has just grown.
“Colin Bowe said, ‘don’t train the speed out of him because he is fast’ and we are known for staying chasers. This one is a proper two miler. He will certainly travel well and he goes there with a chance but it is as competitive as hell.
“I think he is an improving horse and he is in a good place with himself. He could have been scared from his fall but it didn’t bother him and he jumped like a stag last time at Newbury. It was a lovely prep. He is a sharp horse.”
“Elixir De Nutz is coming back and he is a Grade One winner. He won a Tolworth and he was then a short price for the Supreme and he went wrong. We then had two seasons when we had a job to train him as his legs were so fragile but this season we have got him back to where he is. He has also got the potential of winning a £50,000 bonus as he has won at Plumpton this season.
“He is off 143, which is the same mark as Amarillo Sky, and he bolted up at Kempton the last day. With the class he has got he is a novice again in a Grand Annual.
“You need a bit of luck but touch wood he jumps well. There wouldn’t be masses between them. Terry Warner (owner) questioned if we were going to bring him back in this season but we were glad we did as we have got him right. His legs are good and it will be interesting to see how he goes.
“He won a Tolworth on soft ground but it was pretty decent ground at Kempton the other day and he bounced off that.”
Oscar Elite & Elegant Escape (Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase)
“I think Oscar Elite was going to run a huge race first time out behind Threeunderthrufive. We have just struggled with him since. He had a hard race at Huntingdon and it just hasn’t quite happened.
“He has dropped to a mark of 134. He won’t get in an Ultima. I think we should take advantage of that. He is in the Kim Muir. He is really coming in his coat now. He looks well.
“He will have a spin around Wincanton tomorrow morning then I have got to start having a think about jockeys if we decide to go down that route. An Albert Bartlett second off 134, although he has a few questions to answer, if he does bounce back to himself he could run a big race.
“He has jumped fine since that fall but he hasn’t really finished his races so there is that. He has done plenty of schooling. He looked bit out of it in his coat in January but you can now start to see his summer coat come through and he is blossoming now.
“We have got a bit to find but if he clicked back to Albert Bartlett form he should be capable off 134. Hopefully we would be able to get one of the top boys. He is an Oscar so he wouldn’t mind a bit of decent ground. He looks better than he has looked for the last month so hopefully he is just coming to himself. He runs in a tongue tie but his wind hasn’t been done.
“Elegant Escape is in the Kim Muir as well and we will probably run him as Jon (Romans, owner) is quite keen to run him. We were going to go for the National but he is not good enough for that nowadays.
“I ran him at Exeter and he pulled up when I fancied him. He gets into a Kim Muir and if we can find someone sensible to ride him we will give him a spin. I think he should be running in those veterans races now really.
“He was sixth in a Gold Cup once but I’d be surprised if he was competitive as I think he has just lost his way a bit. He will win one of those veterans’ races as he has a bit of class but it might just take a few runs to come right. He is still rated 140.”
Fiddlerontheroof (Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup)
“I don’t think I’m going to run Fiddlerontheroof in the Gold Cup. My old man tells me every morning that Fiddlerontheroof’s best preparation for a Grand National is the Gold Cup but I don’t know.
“Unless he wows us next week he won’t be running as the plan is to take him to the Grand National off of 155. I was a bit disappointed at Ascot but he probably ran a blinder. He didn’t travel like he could but he still got there to win his race at the last.
“He could be a proper Grand National horse. One of the guys that owns him, Nick Burley, is a Liverpool boy and he wants to have a go at a Grand National so that is what we will do. He is a good stayer and is arguably unlucky not to win a Ladbrokes (Trophy) and arguably unlucky not to win at Ascot the other day.
“We have saved him for the spring and he will have a go at the National and we have saved him for it. He will have a chance in the National. It wasn’t a pretty watch at Ascot as he is normally a better traveller and he didn’t jump as well as he can.
“I didn’t enjoy watching it until two out when I thought he was going to win with his class. You would like to think over a Grand National if he gets in a nice rhythm he could just travel well.
“We’ve never really had a proper stab with a horse at the Grand National. I mentioned it to Dad at Christmas time after talking to the boys. He said, ‘where are we going to run that as he hasn’t run for a long time?’ and I said, ‘the National’ and he said, ‘I’ll have that in my name still!’
“He would have to be the best we have sent there. They set up the fences at David Pipe’s so we will go down there a couple of times and do it all properly.”
The Festival™ 2022 – Order of Running
Tuesday 15th March
1.30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y 4yo+ £135,000
2.10 Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y 5yo+ £175,000
2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f 5yo+ £125,000
3.30 Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) 2m 87y 4yo+ £450,000
4.10 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y 4yo+ £120,000
4.50 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y 4yo £80,000
5.30 National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Novices' Chase (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y 5yo+ £125,000
Wednesday 16th March
1.30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 5f 4yo+ £135,000
2.10 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y 5yo+ £175,000
2.50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 5f 4yo+ £100,000
3.30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y 5yo+ £400,000
4.10 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y 5yo+ £75,000
4.50 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 1m 7f 199y 5yo+ £125,000
5.30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y4 6yo £80,000
Thursday 17th March
1.30 Turners Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 3f 168y 5yo+ £175,000
2.10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y 5yo+ £100,000
2.50 Ryanair Festival Trophy Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y 5yo+ £375,000
3.30 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y 4yo+ £325,000
4.10 Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 4f 127y 5yo+ £120,000
4.50 Parnell Properties Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y 4yo+ £105,000
5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase (Sponsored By The JRL Group) 3m 2f 5yo+ £75,000
Friday 18th March
1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y 4yo £135,000
2.10 McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y 5yo+ £100,000
2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y 4yo+ £135,000
3.30 Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y 5yo+ £625,000
4.10 St. James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase 3m 2f 70y 5yo+ £50,000
4.50 Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y 5yo+ £120,000
5.30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 56y 4yo+ £75,000