Joe Tizzard: “We are expecting a big run from Native River”
Coral ambassador previews the Tizzard yard’s Saturday rides
Newbury is the plan for Lostintranslation but he wouldn’t run on really soft ground so I’d want it to dry out a bit.
If it was too testing at Newbury and it looked like it was going to dry up for Ascot, then he’d go there for the Ascot Chase. But if Ascot was heavy then he could just go straight to Cheltenham.
We took the view that Native River wasn’t going to go to Newbury, like he has over the last couple of years, as last year the better ground just jarred him up. But if for any reason Sandown was called off, and Newbury came up soft then he could still go to Newbury instead.
The Big Breakaway was going to run at Wetherby on Saturday but the chases have all been called off. The only other option is the Reynoldstown at Ascot in two weeks’ time. We will probably aim him for that but if we decided we didn’t like the idea of that, then we’d go straight to Cheltenham. He definitely goes for the RSA Chase, and I think he’ll be very competitive in it.
14.20 Sandown – Native River
He’s done nothing wrong throughout his career. He’s won a Gold Cup, and run well in two others. Last year he was two from two, and this year he ran a blinder in the Many Clouds at Aintree when they removed several fences due to the Sun. It would have helped him a lot more if all the fences had had to be jumped that day. He still had every chance when they bypassed the last, and he ran a lovely race.
He’s never been to Sandown but I see absolutely no reason why he won’t love it around there. Those seven fences down the back straight, the stiff finish – I think he’ll really enjoy it. We are expecting a big run from him. He’s got the ground; he’ll like the track and he deserves to be there as well.
I’m a massive fan of Sandown. It’s a really honest test of a horse. If there’s any flaws in your jumping they get found out around there, and if there’s any chinks in your stamina they’ll get found out too.
People keep telling me he’s 40/1 for the Gold Cup but he was two from two last year, and he wasn’t running in easy races, he won two graded races. I think he’d need the ground on Gold Cup day to be in his favour, as he may have lost a gear, but he’s still competitive in the races he needs to be competitive in, so his form hasn’t dipped off at all. If he runs well in this race then he’s a legitimate Gold Cup contender, especially if the ground comes up a bit soft.
14.30 Wetherby – West Approach
This is just a bit of a change of plan with him. We do it every year. His form tails off over fences, and then we revert to hurdles, and he normally runs quite well. He’s been competitive in a few of these types of races. He’s a tricky one to judge but we’ll send him up. It’s a long way to send one horse, especially with a morning inspection, but it’s got to be done.
He has to carry a lot of weight in handicaps and he’s not the biggest horse in the world, so this looks a good spot. On the ratings, off levels, he’s not without a chance.