Last season’s G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle fourth The Big Breakaway made an exciting first appearances over fences with a bold round of jumping in the mallardjewellers.com Novices' Chase.
Sent off the 4/9 favourite on his seasonal return for Colin Tizzard, the five-year-old tracked Soldier Of Love early on before being sent to the front of the five runners by Robbie Power after the eighth fence.
The Big Breakaway hit a brief flat spot on the second circuit and looked set to be challenged on both sides turning in by Doc Penfro and the patiently ridden The Butcher Said. A mistake at the second-last put paid to The Butcher Said’s chances, with The Big Breakaway forging clear in the run-in to beat Don Penfro by 10 lengths.
Robbie Power said: “It was perfect. I would have like to have had a lead for a bit longer and if you want to be critical, he jumped a bit big. But the ground was hard work and I would say he was overcompensating for the ground, it’s real tough going. He is a very nice horse and that is a perfect start.
“His schooling at home has been fantastic. We went a good gallop the other morning over the fences at the Tizzards and Joe actually gave myself and Tom Scudamore a speeding ticket as we went a bit quick, that is how good he was at home. I think in a better race, even back in trip as he has loads of pace and a high cruising speed, he could handle strongly around 2 ½ miles.
“He has loads of scope or he can go in and pop as well. He only had three runs last year over hurdles and missed a bit of the season. He is still a big, green baby, you could see that going round.
“I wouldn't be afraid to go back in trip now either, because I think he is a horse who needs a bit of experience, and coming back to two and a half miles in a strongly run race, he would learn an awful lot.
“The ground is tough going, it is very hard work, especially on the chase track. The hurdle track is mainly the same as well, so it is going to take plenty of getting today.”
Joe Tizzard, son of and assistant to Colin Tizzard, said: “The Big Breakaway was brilliant today and I couldn’t be happier with him. He jumped really well and was just awesome.
“He just finds everything so easy at that pace. He has shocked me a little bit, but we will have a think about where we go and make a plan.
“Kempton on Boxing Day looks the obvious target, but we will think about it and make a plan from there. The Kauto Star is five or six weeks away and will tie in perfectly. I think he will want a couple of runs between now and Cheltenham just to make sure it doesn’t all happen too easily.
“His jumping was foot perfect, and it has been since day one. I don’t want him to waste ground with extravagant jumps. You can’t fault him, he popped when he needed to and has plenty of scope.
“For a first run over fences, we couldn’t ask for any more. The Big Breakaway makes me tingle he is that special. He has a huge future.
“We turned our horses out on the 23 March this year so a month or so earlier. They had all that good spring grass and I think it just took two or three weeks more to get them where we wanted. I don’t mind them needing their first run. We turned everything out after lockdown to save the business and look after our owners. I think with that spring grass they just took a little longer.
“We won this race with Thistlecrack a few years ago. Take the Cheltenham Festival run [fourth in Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle] out of it and he has been faultless. He looks like he will develop into a proper Gold Cup horse.”
1.15pm mallardjewellers.com Novices’ Chase 3m 80y
1 The Big Breakaway – Colin Tizzard 5-11-00 Robbie Power 4/9F
2 Doc Penfro – Emma Lavelle 8-11-00 Aidan Coleman 12/1
3 The Butcher Said – Olly Murphy 7-11-08 Adrian Heskin 8/1
Distances: 10, 10
Tote Win: £1.30 Places: £1.10 £3.70 Exacta: £5.20 Trifecta: £17.40