Joe Tizzard: “Royal Vacation has got a great each way chance”


Top trainer looks ahead to his weekend runners

Cue Card

Cue Card has come out of last week’s race really well. He’s a horse that never really shows he’s had a hard race, but running in that kind of race on that ground is tough.

He’s just been cantering away and he looks superb. The more we look at it, the better we think that he ran. The winner put up an outstanding performance and I don’t know what horse could have beaten him on the day. I really don’t. 

Cue Card ended up beating Outlander, who is a Grade One winner of the Lexus, and Tea For Two, a rival that Cue Card has been battling with throughout his career, so it was a solid performance.

Whether or not we go for the King George is the question, and it’s a bit doubtful to be honest as we don’t need to put him in that ultra-hot race when we can pick and choose other options.

We can wait and go to Ascot in February or come to Newbury for the Denman Chase. Those are easier options for him than the King George. So that’s what we’ll probably do.

12.45 Newbury – Elegant Escape

His two runs over fences have been good runs. He’s come up against two decent horses. The winner at Chepstow has come out and won again, and Ballyoptic ran very well at Cheltenham last time.

So it looks strong form. He’s got a bit to find with Black Corton on ratings, but this galloping track will really suit him and he’s a horse that we love.

We could have gone to Taunton for a six runner handicap but he will learn more here and the track will suit him better.

Black Corton was going to be second to Sizing Tennessee but for our horse falling at Cheltenham, and West Approach ran no race against him, so we know the horse well and he’s clearly improved a huge amount.

We are looking for another solid run from Elegant Escape as he’s a horse that’s high up our pecking order of novice chasers. It’s only a matter of time for it all to click and he’ll land a decent prize.

1.20 Newbury – Gentleman Jon

He was travelling well at Cheltenham when he fell last time.

We could have gone for a lesser race at Wincanton next week but he’s quite ground dependent, and this is the best ground we’re going to find between now and the spring, so we’ve decided to come here.

He gets in off 10 stone 6 pounds, the track should suit him, but it’s a competitive race so we’ll see how we go.

3.00 Newbury – Royal Vacation

He ticks a lot of the boxes for this race as he’s a Grade 1 winner and a second season chaser. He always needs his first run of the season so we are very hopeful of a good performance.

If Theatre Guide can get placed in two Hennessys then I think this chap can too as he’s potentially a better horse than Theatre Guide.

He’s gone under the radar a little bit for this race, and in a way he’s gone under the radar at home too as whilst this has always been the plan, he hasn’t had the attention that Native River had going into this race.

I think he’s got a great each way chance, I really do.

His winning time in the Feltham was on a par with Thistlecrack’s win in the King George. Might Bite was putting up a crazy performance when he fell, but it shows how good a performance it was from Royal Vacation.

He was then impressive at Cheltenham in January before disappointing at the Festival. He’s a long distance staying chaser in the making.

The way he runs he always saves a bit, running behind the bridle, and you have to keep cajoling him along a bit, but I think he’s got a big valuable handicap in him. Whether he’s up to winning the Ladbrokes Trophy we’ll have to see.

I always think with the Ladbrokes Trophy you need a second season chaser that’s going to develop into a Gold Cup horse, like Native River was last year.

So I’m not sure if Royal Vacation has quite that profile but he’s certainly a good horse and has a big race in him.


1.45 Newbury – Masters Hill

Only the six runners and it’s a £30,000 Veterans’ race on good ground, so it’s a good spot for Masters Hill.

He’s a bit in and out, but he does produce a couple of runs each season that show that he’s more than capable of winning this.

We just couldn’t turn down the temptation of running in this race. He’s a Veteran, and three miles on good ground around Leicester is ideal for him.

He ran at Aintree last time in a fifteen runner field, in exactly the same type of race, so this is a perfect race for him.


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