Joe Tizzard: “Elegant Escape ticks all the boxes here.”
The latest news and weekend lookahead from the Tizzard crew
We were delighted with Native River and Thistlecrack last weekend. They’ve both come back in great shape and we’re looking forward to what will come next now.
Native River found the track a bit too stiff but he ran on well and it looked a really good run in his quest to win the Gold Cup again.
Thistlecrack didn’t jump particularly well, looking a bit rusty, but the way he travelled was absolutely typical of him and he finished beautifully. We are all very excited and fingers crossed we can keep him in one piece ahead of the King George which can hopefully deliver an ever bigger performance.
Saturday – Newbury
Kilbricken Storm had a lovely run last time out winning at Ffof Las, which was the perfect prep race for this. 95% of that race was near enough perfect. It was his first chase and he jumped absolutely brilliantly, and although he nearly got caught napping at the end it was a great run.
It’s a good field but he is a very good horse and should handle the conditions very well. These are the kind of races he should be running in and hopefully he can go well here.
Valhalla is a very consistent horse but is probably handicapped to his peak now. The trip looks right for him here though and whilst it won’t be easy hopefully he can run to that level.
I’m really looking forward to seeing him run here. We know he acts on soft ground, we think he will enjoy the longer trip and he’s weighted to be very competitive.
Hopefully this trip does bring out the very best in him and he can go close.
Native River’s win back in this race in 2016 is one that we all look back on very fondly and came at a time when we really started getting competitive in these types of races. It’s fantastic to have three runners in such a valuable race and we’re very excited for them.
The few times that I rode in this race it was all about getting a good start and even when you see Denman’s great performance he had to be pushed right along past everybody for the first 300 yards.
With the numbers thinning it will be slightly easier for the jockeys to not have that pressure on them at the start. That said, it remains a high quality field and it’s great to have three runners in such a valuable race.
John Romans owns Elegant Escape and it’s his sixtieth birthday on Saturday. He’s been a great supporter of the team over the last few times and hopefully he can celebrate with a win this weekend.
His horse ticks all the boxes here. He is a second season chaser, has won at Newbury before and he has had a prep run which saw him improve considerably. He did pick up a penalty for that run but he’s the type of horse that desperately needed it and it shouldn’t be the stopping of him.
We schooled him on Wednesday morning and he jumped perfectly. He has the potential to be a Gold Cup horse and hopefully being competitive in this can set him on that path.
Sizing Tennessee had a great season last year. He looked like he might beat Black Corton at Cheltenham until a mistake at the second last and has some very fair form.
At the age of 10 he definitely deserves to be in this race. We know he will keep galloping until the line and hopefully he can put in a good run.
We haven’t quite been able to work out what West Approach’s best trip is just yet. There is a feeling that he has a big handicap in him but we just can’t work out when that might be!
He disappointed last time out at Cheltenham where it looked like they went a little fast for him. The slightly smaller field might help here and we’ll ride him to try and be involved in the race from the get go.
We are trying to work out just how good this horse can be and this race will be a really good test of that. He lead over the last in the Supreme last season, was second at both Aintree and Punchestown and on that form he has a chance.
It’s a high quality race and hopefully he can keep up with them. If he doesn’t, we may look to go chasing with him, but we are hopeful that he will go well here.
He was put in his place last time out at Haydock but he seemed to enjoy the race and came back very fit and well. He needs to get a handicap mark but we are going to give him another run here and hopefully it goes well.