Joe Tizzard: “It will take a smart one to beat him that’s for sure”


Top trainer runs through his Friday runners at Cheltenham

We were all shocked and desperately sad when we were told that Alan Potts had passed away.

We’ve only known Alan for just over twelve months but he came into our lives and moved us forward a huge amount with the horses he sent us.

He has given us some serious ammunition and put us in the position to be able to go and buy some of the top lots at the sales. Alan has put us in a lovely position and we are very grateful for that.

We also had some lovely days with Alan, and his late wife Ann, none more so than at Aintree and Punchestown both of which were very special occasions that we were lucky enough to share together.

At the moment it’s case of carrying on with the horses as normal, so we are pleased that we can run some of Alan’s horses over the next few days at Cheltenham.

It would be terrific if we could have some winners in his colours at a racecourse that he loved more than any other, and which would be a lovely way of remembering Alan and celebrating his huge contribution to the sport.


12.40 Cheltenham – Gentleman Jon

He was balloted out of the Badger Ales Chase last Saturday which was a shame. The horse is fit and ready to run but it looks a seriously competitive amateur riders’ chase.

So yes, it’s a hot race but the horse is really well and Mikey Legg is a good rider so we’ll give it a good go.

1.50 Cheltenham – Shanahan’s Turn and Mick Thonic

Shanahans Turn has been off the track for the best part of 500 days and it’s his first run for us.

He’s obviously a good horse as he won a Galway Plate. He seems in lovely form at home but it’s a bit of a fact finder for us.

Mick Thonic has been running some lovely races but having a bit of bad luck. He unseated when he was going well at Ludlow, then he made a mistake at Cheltenham last time.

He is going very well at home and I think he could run a very big race off a light-ish weight.

2.25 Cheltenham – Finian’s Oscar

He’s in lovely form, and he’s sharpened up since his run at Chepstow. We’ve schooled him a couple of times since.

Bryan Cooper came over and gave him a pop over a few obstacles on Tuesday morning and it all went well. So he’s in great form and this race is the next step in his chasing career.

He will take a bit of beating. He’s a special horse, and I’m excited to watch him every time he runs.

He was so good schooling the other morning and I would actually have liked more runners because I don’t really want it to turn into a ‘cat and mouse’ race.

But it is what it is and it will be great to give him some experience around Cheltenham. It will take a smart horse to beat him that’s for sure.

3.35 Cheltenham – Vision Des Flos

He ran very well at Chepstow in the Persian War, but he was plenty keen enough that day.

He has definitely sharpened up a good bit as a result of that run, as quite a few of ours have done that ran at Chepstow.

He’s got to get the trip in quite a competitive little race but I think tomorrow will educate him a bit more to be honest. We’ll switch him off and teach him to settle. He’s got a big engine though and we are pointing high with him.

He’s a very exciting horse and a real athlete. I expect him to run a big race in this, but it’s still another fact finding mission to find out if he really is a two and a half-miler yet.

Other news

We took our three stars – Cue Card, Fox Norton, and Thistlecrack – to Wincanton last Saturday to have a racecourse gallop and it couldn’t have gone any better to be honest.

The idea for Fox Norton and Thistlecrack was not to work them particularly hard but just to get them away for a day out and get their blood up.

For Cue Card the idea was to take him to the races and for him not to have a heavy fall or a hard race.

I think he probably benefitted the most out of it, as Harry Cobden had the chance to ride him in a two mile gallop, and after he crossed the line he jig jogged with his ears pricked all the way back.

He really did enjoy himself.

So the trip ticked all the boxes and Fox Norton will run on Sunday in the Schloer Chase, with Cue Card heading for the Betfair Chase next Saturday, and Thistlecrack lined up for the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in a fortnight’s time.


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