Joe Tizzard discusses his 2023 Cheltenham Festival contenders
Joe Tizzard has nine horses entered at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival meeting. We spoke to our ambassador about which races they are likely to feature in, and what he makes of their chances.
The Big Breakaway – Ultima Handicap Chase
He is a horse we hold in high regard. It has been an excellent season for him so far. He struggled with his shins last year, but he is over those issues now. I was delighted with his performance in the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow where he finished second.
The plan is to go to Aintree with him for the Grand National, but before then we will have a go at the Ultima Handicap Chase on day one at Cheltenham. He would like a bit of rain, but there is a good chance we will get some. He has run well around the course before, so he deserves to take his place in the field.
Oscar Elite – Ultima Handicap Chase
Oscar is one of my best chances of a winner across the week. He was excellent in the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot last month. He tends to produce his best at this time of the year. The handicapper has given him a mark of 139, which is just 1lb higher than when he finished third in this race 12 months ago. If he gets into a nice rhythm, I expect him to be in the mix at the business end of the contest.
Non Stop – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Non Stop has an entry in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, but I don’t think he is going to get in, unfortunately. I expect he will be balloted out.
Elixir De Nutz – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup & Magners Plate Handicap Chase
He will be ground dependent. If we get a bit of rain and the ground eases a little, I think we will run him in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual. It is a fast run 2m contest, which would suit him. He is in the best form he has been for some time. I was very happy with the way he ran at Newbury in graded company last time. I am excited by his prospects.
The Changing Man – Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle
I did not think he would get into this race initially, but because of the qualification rules, where you need to finish in the top four previously, he will qualify. He is a progressive young horse who has improved with each run this season. I love him to bits, and I can’t wait to go chasing with him next year. He has a nice racing weight in this race which will help his chances.
War Lord – Magners Plate Handicap Chase
I was in two minds about what to do with this horse. He was entered in the Greatwood at Newbury on Saturday, but the ground would have been too firm for him. We are going to take our chance in the Plate. Hopefully, he will get the rain he needs. I was pleased with his last run at Wetherby, and he is coming in the right direction. He was a good novice last season and that maybe has taken its mark on him, but he is back to where we want him to be now.
JPR One – McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle
JPR One won’t run in the McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle. He is going to feature in the Imperial Cup at Sandown on the Saturday before the Festival.
Scarface – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
I think the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle will really cut up this year. I can see there being a small field of around eight runners in this. We are going to take our chance with Scarface in the race. If he can run into a place, we will be delighted. We will probably go handicapping after this at Aintree.
Eldorado Allen – Cheltenham Gold Cup
Eldorado Allen has been a great horse for us. He probably comes into this just under the mark required to be a Gold Cup winner, but he has been placed in two big races. I don’t think there is a standout horse in the Gold Cup this year.
You can put a line through his Newbury run. I told Brendan Powell to be positive on him, but there ended up being three horses making the running and they cut each other’s throats. He will be ridden slightly differently this time. If he was able to finish third or fourth, we will be very happy.
View the latest horse racing odds