Joe Tizzard admitted the battling success registered by Eldorado Allen in the feature Betway Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter today was “just what the yard needed” following a difficult 12 months.
After saddling just 37 winners last season, trainer Colin Tizzard celebrated a second notable victory in the space of three days following the tenacious success secured by the progressive seven year old in the Grade Two feature at the Devon track.
Anchored at the rear of the field for much of the race, the 9-2 chance gradually worked his way into contention under Brendan Powell before moving on with eventual runner-up Hitman on the run down to the final four fences in the home straight.
It looked as though the 11-10 favourite Hitman, who had finished ahead of Eldorado Allen in the Grade One Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April, once again had the measure of his last season’s Arkle Trophy runner-up approaching the final fence.
Although Hitman still held a clear advantage over the last, his petrol levels started to run on empty as the post loomed, and with one last surge close to the line Eldorado Allen forged ahead of his old rival before to prevail by a length.
Following the race, which follows on from the victory gained by stablemate Fiddlerontheroof in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle on Sunday, Eldorado Allen was cut to 40-1 for the Ryanair Chase at next year’s Cheltenham Festival by Betfair.
Joe Tizzard, son and assistant trainer, said: ““He didn’t travel all that well early on and Brendan said he was virtually flat out.
“It turned into a proper slog. It was good on the horse he stuck his head out really well and he has proved he will get a bit further now. We thought going to Aintree over two mile four last season would have been ideal, but he just ran a bit flat.
“He was second in an Arkle and off 151 you had to fancy him. He beat the right horse in my opinion. I think the right two fought it out so it was a solid performance.
“They were needing their runs the first half of October but they have just started to hit their straps now and it proves they are in rude health with themselves now.
“To go and win with Fiddlerontheroof and this one now is just what the yard needed. It puts it all to rest a little from what has been going on over the last 12 months.
“It is nice for us and good for the owners who have supported us all the way through. However well they run it is all about winners and we have got in the habit of having big winners and that is how we want to continue.”
Although plans remain fluid for Eldorado Allen, an outing in the Grade Two Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon on Sunday 5th December is a possibility.
Tizzard continued: “We will probably be looking at going a bit further now. He has won over hurdles and first time out over fences last year so he does go well fresh. We’ve not really got any plans so we will have to plot a path.
“Quite possibly the Peterborough Chase could be a race we look at as he has put himself in that sort of bracket. He could be a Ryanair horse as we get further down the line.”
Successful jockey Brendan Powell added: “I sat at the back and just crept away. Once the race started to unfold when we jumped the last fence down the back, I said ‘go’ and I had a willing partner with me.
“I thought I had run my race coming down to the last and I was going to be a gallant second. I don’t know whether Hitman got tired or I just stayed on, maybe it was a combination of both, but he got in front where the line was.
“This is the big race at Exeter and to come and do it at a local track is brilliant. There are pressures that come with it when you are riding better horses in better races, but it is not a bad position to be in. They are lovely fences around here and very well presented. You have still got to jump them but other racecourses should take note.”
As for joint-owner Terry Warner, who has seen his colours carried to Champion Hurdle glory with Rooster Booster 2003 and owns Eldorado Allen in partnership with John Romans, he was optimistic of a solid display.
Warner said: “I’m not surprised he has won as I think he is an improving horse. He is a grey of course and that helps.
“He looked like he was going to be second at the last but he has run on and looks like he wants an extra half mile now.
“I was quite bullish before the race. I thought we are getting weight and he had no weight at all so I thought it was a wonderful chance for us to win. I never thought he would get there. We are very excited about him.”
An outing in next month’s Betfair Tingle Creek could be on the agenda for both runner-up Hitman and fourth placed Greaneteen according to trainer Paul Nicholls.
Nicholls said: “Hitman has just got to stick his head down and gallop to the line but that will come with experience. Every time he has won, he has won hard on the bridle. He has never had to get in a battle with those battle-hardened horses and stick his head down to the line but that will come. He has a lot of potential.
“I hate getting beat but I’m thrilled he ran so well. Greaneteen did exactly what I thought he would do and blew up but we will now get him tuned up for the Tingle Creek. That was his prep for that today and I’ve left loads to work on and that will take the freshness out of him.
“I will not be afraid to go to the Tingle Creek with Hitman as you are a bit in no man’s land. He is rated 151 and he might as well go in those better races than in a handicap. You want to run him in those better races as somewhere along the line he will pick one up.”