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Taking the Reins: Behind the scenes with trainer Joe Tizzard

| 15.05.2023

Coral have teamed up with leading National Hunt trainer Joe Tizzard to give horse racing fans a glimpse into life at a top stable via an exciting new documentary series.

Taking the Reins is a gripping six-part production following Dorset handler Tizzard as he takes over the family operation from father Colin.

The series, free to watch on YouTube, follows Coral ambassador Joe through the challenges of forging his own path in this fiercely competitive sport.

Viewers receive unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the inner workings of the stables amidst preparations for some of jump racing’s most important events.

From the heart-stopping excitement of the races to the hard-hitting reality of working in a stable yard, it is a series which will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

Coral PR director and executive producer Simon Clare said: “To demonstrate Coral’s passion for horse racing, we wanted to create a really special and unique content series that would stand the test of time, recognising the huge popularity and appetite for high quality, behind-the-scenes sports documentaries.

“We’ve been filming Joe Tizzard, his family, his hard-working team, his owners, and of course the racehorses, for six months starting in November, right the way through the jumps season to Cheltenham and then Aintree. It has been a huge project and we’re thrilled with what we’ve produced.

“We’re obviously indebted to Joe and everyone who appeared in the series for opening their doors and their lives to the cameras, and we hope they like, and are proud of, what we’ve produced.”

Episode 1 – Chasing Gold

An introduction to Joe as he prepares to follow in the footsteps of dad Colin, who saddled Native River to victory in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup among his many major wins. With a reputation to maintain and a string of promising horses under his care, how will one of the sport’s rising stars fare as he takes over the reins at Venn Farm?

Episode 2 – Second Best

With the loss of his sister Kim weighing heavily on his mind in the build-up to two of the biggest races of the season – the King George VI Chase and the Coral Welsh Grand National – Joe is determined to keep his stable at the top of their game.

Episode 3 – Frozen Sky

Joe opens up about the immense pressure to deliver results, as a quiet spell brings added scrutiny. Plus, with the weather causing cancellations and rescheduling, including that of the Clarence House Chase, Joe has to find a way to make it work.

Episode 4 – Another Chance

Tension builds as the Cheltenham Festival approaches, as the team put their final preparations in place for the biggest jumps event of the season. With the stakes higher than ever, how will Joe deal with the setbacks and injuries that come with the territory?

Episode 5 – Cheltenham

We go behind the scenes at the exhausting, exhilarating four-day extravaganza that is the Cheltenham Festival, as Joe and his team go head-to-head with the best in the business at the holy grail of National Hunt racing.

Episode 6 – The Grand National

The ultimate test of skill and bravery – with the added media attention that accompanies threat of disruption by protestors – it’s the race of a lifetime for Joe and his team at the 2023 Randox Grand National. And, after this, what next for Joe and his horses?

Taking the Reins has been created, in association with the Racing Post, by Equine Productions, who received widespread acclaim for producing the Amazon Prime series Horsepower with Andrew Balding.

CEO Dave James commented: “Through the depths of winter to the sport’s show-stopper at the Grand National, we followed Joe and his team, exploring emotional and engaging stories while showing the trials and tribulations that come with being at the elite end of National Hunt racing.

“We believe at its heart this is a story about racing people for racing people, though there will also be a natural appeal to general sport lovers too.

“We’re hugely grateful to Joe for letting us in and opening up. We had full access to the yard and the team, and we thank them for giving the project its all, even when times got tough.”

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Tony Kelshaw