Joe Tizzard: “Slate House could throw a spanner in the works”

Joe Tizzard

Latest insight from the Tizzard stables

Richard Johnson – Native River

It’s a real shame that Dickie has got injured, but there are worse times for a Jump jockey to get injured, and he’s very confident that he’ll be back for the Cheltenham Festival.

He’s going to miss the ride on Native River in the Denman Chase at Newbury, so somebody will stand in for him there, but Dickie will hopefully be back for Cheltenham and will ride him.

We will have a chat with Garth and Ann to decide who will ride Native River at Newbury but the decision is likely to have half an eye on who might ride the horse in the Gold Cup, should Dickie not be back in time for any reason.

That said if we get closer to the Denman, and Dickie’s recovery is going really well and it’s clear he’s definitely going to be back, then it won’t be such a big factor.

He’s not a difficult horse so any of the top boys could get on him. He’s looking superb and we are looking forward to running him. We planned to have a pretty quiet lead up to the Gold Cup.


He’s in great form. He’s filled right up and is looking big and well.

We gave him an easy enough time just to put some condition back on, so we have something to work with as we build up to the Gold Cup, but he’s cantering now three times up our gallop again, and he looks superb.

Elegant Escape

He had a slight wind operation in the second week in January, which I think is a blessing in disguise as otherwise we’d be beginning to get a bit twitchy with him.

We are going to save him for one run before the Grand National, and whether that run is in the Gold Cup or not we’ll have to see nearer the time. He gets his Grand National entry next week and we’ll decide the route we are going to take once we see the weight he’s got.

He’d had a soft palate operation before, and we just heard a noise going up the gallop, so we thought we’d tweak that before the Grand National. 

Saturday Runners

14.25 Cheltenham – Slate House

Slate House is an eight-year-old who won a Grade 1 last time out and is very experienced over fences, so we thought we’d give him a chance in a decent race.

It’s turned out to be a bloody hot Cotswold Chase but we will see where we are with our horse, and we will get an answer to which trip we need to go for at Cheltenham.

If he doesn’t quite get the trip then he can run in the Marsh Chase at the Festival over two and a half. He’s been running very well over two and a half, and he got the three miles well at Kempton on Boxing Day but that doesn’t guarantee he’ll get this trip around Cheltenham. So it’s a bit of a fact finding mission.

The horse is in the form of his life. We perhaps could have gone for the Reynoldstown, but we have Copperhead going there, so we were all quite keen to have a crack at a decent prize. We might be able to throw a spanner in the works which would be good fun.

15.00 Cheltenham – Harry Senior

He’s got some cracking novice form and last time at Warwick it was just disappointing that he was withdrawn as he had a little nick on his leg after running loose, and if there’s any blood they have to take them out which is frustrating but understandable.

It was just bad luck at Warwick as something caught the horse’s eye and he ducked off left and it was one of those things. But the horse didn’t hurt himself and he’s absolutely fine.

So instead we are taking our chance in what is a competitive race tomorrow, and good to give him some experience at Cheltenham.

15.35 Cheltenham – Kilbricken Storm

We wanted to run him in a Pertemps Qualifier but the owners were quite keen to have a crack at this and have a day out, and there’s another Pertemps Qualifier at Exeter in a fortnight’s time, so if he gets put in his place in the Cleeve Hurdle then that is where we will go.

He’s definitely going in the right direction this season and his last run was much, much stronger.

He’s in a good place at home and we are having a crack and will see where he is. He won’t be last and if he’s not quite good enough then we’ll go and get him qualified for the Pertemps Hurdle.

16.10 Cheltenham – Ainchea

It’s lovely to get him back on the track after a major injury two years ago. It proved that he still had a bit about him when he ran at Sandown the other day, but Harry looked after him, and we want to look after him, as it’s taken such a long time to get him back.

I think it will take a few more runs to get him fully fit and mentally back into the swing of things. It’s another day out for him and he’s still rated 130 odd, so there aren’t many options for him. It’s nice to have him back and in a minute he’ll run a big race.

Sunday Runners 

13.20 Fontwell – Norse Legend

He loves these conditions and is competitive when he’s fresh, and he hasn’t run for a while. He’s in good form at home but he’s not one you’d rely on.

 14.20 Fontwell – Beaufort West

He has the Chris Gordon horse to beat and he has to give us 6lbs, and there’s actually 6lbs in the ratings between. We were chuffed to bits with him last time.

He had a wind operation in the autumn, he had the full operation, the Hobday, and he was impressive at Cheltenham.

We have put Jonjo on him on Sunday as if he bolts up he could go for the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham, and although Jonjo may have a ride for JP, we will give him a little taster just in case and see if we can tempt him.

16.20 Fontwell – Premiumaccess

He ran well at Newbury on his first run for us. He just got interfered with a little bit two out. We are expecting him to run a nice race on Sunday.

Coral Champions Club horses

Battle of Ideas is ready to go. We are just mindful of the ground. We are starting to get longer days and if we are just patient for a week or so, we’ll get some better ground and he’s ready to go.

The Elusive Pimpernel four-year-old has been to Larkhill for a little gallop and he was a bit stiff for a few days afterwards. He’s a baby and he’ll take time. We’ll get a run in to him in March in a bumper.

He’s a big boy and he’s still growing so we don’t want to push him too hard. We really like him. There’s only going to be one or two days out with him this season.


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