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17th November 2022 Haydock Park

Those in the vicinity of groom Jemma Sargent on Saturday (19th November) at Haydock Park may need to purchase a set of ear defenders should her pride and joy Eldorado Allen upset the odds in the Betfair Chase and provide her with a victory she describes would be her ‘greatest day’ in racing.

The ultra-passionate 22 year old will be more than just an interested bystander at the weekend when the Joe Tizzard-trained Khalkevi gelding, who she partners at home on a daily basis, bids to open his account at the top level in Britain’s first Grade One chase of the season.

Although Sargent will be full of nerves during the duration of the extended three miles and a furlong contest, there is every chance she will be heard wherever she watches the race given her previous reactions to when the eight year old has taken to the track.

Sargent said: “I feel nervous all the time when he runs. He is a big part of the yard and to me he is a special horse.

“When I was working in Ireland at Harley Dunne’s last year, I couldn’t go racing with him so I was just shouting at the phone watching it.

“But then over the last few fences in his races I would be turning away not seeing it, but instead just listening to it. 

“When I go racing with him I just hide behind Richie (Young, travelling head lad). I’m hopefully going up to Haydock on Saturday and I did mention it to Amanda (Hibbs, trainer’s assistant) to see if I could go there.

“The butterflies won’t be in me when I travel up there - it is only when he races I get nervous. I have been like that with all my other horses. If it is one that means a lot to you the nerves are even bigger. 

“I would be screaming if he won as he means the world to us. It would be my greatest day racing.”

Jemma Sargent with Eldorado Allen

Building trust in a horse can take time but Sargent, who is based close to Tizzard’s yard in Milborne Wick, admits the spark between herself and Eldorado Allen has been there since his arrival in the yard back in 2018.

She added: “I just got lumped with him one day when he first came in and I just clicked with him but the bond has grown over the years.

“I guess you would get that with a lot of horses if you ride them every day. It is surprising how close you do come connected to them. 

“He is safe ride that’s for sure but he does like to go a good clip at home as well. He is a superstar to be honest. You can do whatever you want on him.

“The jockeys love riding him and schooling him as he is such a good jumper. He is quite a big character to be fair.

“If you fight him a lot he can be tricky, but if you just trust him and ride him off your neck strap he will lob away but then when he wants to go, he can go. 

“His temperament is very laid back that is for sure. Even before he was doing what he did last season he was always my favourite.”

While Sargent hopes her beloved Eldorado Allen can taste Grade One glory at the Merseyside venue she is confident the Jon Romans and Terry Warner-owned gelding will have given it his all wherever he finishes at the weekend.

She added: “I would hope he can finish in the first three. He is actually quite a small horse for a staying chaser but he has got a massive heart. He tries hard all the time and will never ever let you down.

“A lot of people misjudge him. At Wetherby in the Charlie Hall they made it out to be a two horse race but we always knew he was going to be up there while he was overlooked at Newbury when he won the Denman as well. 

“He is a bit of a dark horse but he always tries and always puts up a good fight and he has never failed to impress. 

“He is a lot fresher now and more on it since that Wetherby run. He has woken up now which is good.”

Although Sargent is excited about seeing Eldorado Allen back in action, the final word goes to her new boss, who she has nothing but praise for having taken over the helm at Venn Farm Stables from his father Colin Tizzard back in the spring.

She added: “Joe is brilliant to work for. He is so nice and laid back. He is good for accommodating people as a few of us have pointers and stuff and he helps you out with them.

“He is really good to work and I couldn’t fault him. Hopefully we will have a good season as we have started off well so fingers crossed that carries on.”


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