Joe Tizzard: “I think Cue Card could win it on the bridle”
The Tizzard stables have a busy weekend ahead
Looking back at last weekend’s heroes, Finian’s Oscar, Fox Norton and Slate House have all come out of their victories in great shape. I couldn’t be happier with the way they ran and how they’ve been since.
Finian’s Oscar guessed a bit at the first but then he warmed to the task. He was a lot better than at Chepstow. Then it turned into a sprint and I loved the way he picked up in the home straight.
He pinged the last and he won going away with a bit in hand. He gave a good horse 8lbs and I mean a good horse.
I thought it was a really smart performance. He looked class. Don’t get me wrong I was a bit nervous when we jumped two out but within five strides he was back upsides, attacked the last, and looked ultra-professional by the finish.
That was the most competitive race he’s ever had to contend with. His wins have been easy and at Punchestown he hit the front and then idled and was mugged.
We could go back to Cheltenham in three weeks’ time. There’s a race there for him. That’s most likely what we’ll do.
We want to get the experience into him but we also want to have a strong spring campaign so we’ll plan accordingly. So if we have one more before Christmas, we’ll then look to have one run before Cheltenham late January or early February, ready for Cheltenham and Aintree.
Fox Norton was brilliant. It’s what we expected. I know Special Tiara beat him at Cheltenham but he got a soft lead that day.
On that ground Fox Norton is better than Special Tiara and it was a lovely professional performance. Bryan Cooper really enjoyed riding him and he looked a class act. He’s the one they’ve got to beat in the Tingle Creek.
Bryan Cooper had a great weekend. He wasn’t our first choice when Alan made the decision to use him in England.
We had Robbie come in last spring and he rode some big winners for us, and then we learned we weren’t going to be getting him which was a shock.
Bryan is just 25 years old and he’s had a rough time of it the last couple of years, but he told Dad and myself that he’s enjoying riding for us, and even now you can see a different boy walking into the paddock.
He’s getting to know us and he seems to be happy in himself. We were really pleased with the way he rode last weekend and he’s going to be absolutely fine.
I know exactly how Bryan feels. When I lost the job at Paul Nicholls’, and I was in the spotlight and there were big owners involved, it was tough, and I can totally understand what Bryan has been through. All jockeys live off the back of confidence.
If you are riding winners, you’ll be riding with confidence and you’ll be riding well. The pressure he was under in that big job, and then losing that big job, really knocked him for six and I think that showed in his riding.
Now his confidence is coming back, he’s been having some big days and it showed at the weekend with how well he rode.
As Dad said in the press, he wants to build Bryan’s confidence, and make him confident riding for us. He’s now part of our team and he’s a very capable jockey who’s going to do well for us.
We’re going to continue to use Robbie Power, who’s coming over to ride two for us at Haydock.
It’s just great to have two riders of their talent riding for us to go along with our other regular riders in England. We can get our hands on half a dozen top riders to ride our horses which is lovely.
I think the declaration of wind operations will prove a waste of time if I’m honest, and Dad thinks so too. We have nothing to hide and we’re more than happy to declare them but if anyone thinks it’s going to help the punter then they’ll end up with egg on their face because it won’t.
You get a few that improve, but whether they improve first time out or not that’s not even certain, and I think the impact of these different procedures has been blown out of all proportion. The punter will get fed up with it, or be taking no notice of it, within a couple of months.
The Dutchman is new to us, and he’s had a wind operation. He came from Sandy Thomson.
He was booked in for a wind op before he came to us, so he was with us for a few months and then had the operation. He’s a 137 rated King’s Theatre and he ticks all the boxes. He’s settled in really well and goes quite nicely.
It’s a very competitive race but from what we’ve heard from Daryl Jacob, who’s ridden him in the past, and his owner, he seems really nice and he could be well handicapped off 137.
We will find out more in this race.
Cue Card is in superb form. They travelled up on Friday. He will love the ground, he’s won on it before, and I think it’s his favourite track.
His best performances have come there. I think you’d be a fool to write him off.
He’s in lovely form; I’ve sat on him a couple of times. I just think he’s a better horse than Bristol De Mai on his day. I think he could win it on the bridle tomorrow.
We are taking it one race at a time, but we will most likely then go for the King George, perhaps then head to Ascot in February, and then see where we are with him.
There is nothing at home to suggest that there were any ill-effects from that fall, or that he’s lost any of his ability. Had he stood up he would have gone very close in the Charlie Hall.
Robinsfirth ran well last time out at Cheltenham after a long layoff.
He is a big staying horse that is going to pick up one of these big handicaps and it could be tomorrow. He’s got a great each way chance.
On Demand has a lot of weight. She is probably handicapped up to the hilt to be honest.
Two miles five furlongs around Ascot is a bit of a question mark too. We are not quite ready to go chasing with her, so she’s in this kind of race.
Sizing Granite is in tremendous form at home but that’s been the case before and he’s let us down.
He schooled well last week and it’s just tricky to know how he’s going to perform on the racecourse. He has a lot of ability so could go well.
Quite By Chance ran a really good race behind a very well handicapped horse. He loves Ascot. He was second behind Sire De Grugy in this race last year.
That was a great run. He will run his race. We’ve been thinking for the last 12 months that he’s at the top of his handicap mark and yet he’s kept improving but he is going to be stopped by the weight at some point.
3.55 Exeter – Padleyourowncanoe
Padleyourowncanoe is a lovely little juvenile hurdler. He’s only our second ever juvenile.
He ran well at Warwick for us and they gave him a mark of 110 and he gets a 15lb age allowance. He should be very well in. He’s a straightforward horse and I’ll be disappointed if he gets beaten.
2.15 Uttoxeter – Bears Rails
Bears Rails has let us down big time. He’s a 17” 2 horse and he takes a hell of a lot of getting fit. He just wasn’t fit enough last time, it’s as simple as that.
He’s done a tremendous amount of work in the last few weeks and he is certainly fitter. He will love the ground but you wouldn’t know how he was going to run.
Thistlecrack – Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury next Friday
I sat on Thistlecrack myself yesterday just to see for myself how he was.
Paul O’Brien used to do all the riding on him but he’s no longer with us, so Chris, our new Assistant Trainer, now rides him.
However he’s only been riding him for four months, so I had a sit on him for my own peace of mind. He felt in really good form.
He feels very fit. He has done all his work and the Long Distance Hurdle will be a perfect prep race for the King George.
He doesn’t get to run in easy races because of his rating, and it will be tough against Uknowhatimeanharry, but he won this race two years ago and if he is in the same form then he will take a lot of beating.
The main thing though is to get him back on track, let him have a nice race. He won’t disappoint us, he’s ready to run, and I don’t see any reason why he will have lost an ounce of his ability.