Joe Tizzard: “There’s no reason Fox Norton won’t run a massive race.”
The Tizzard stable has plenty of runners this weekend
West Approach is the highest rated horse in the race and will be getting weight off both of his rivals here.
It was a lovely start for him last time out at Ffos Las where he jumped really well. We have chosen this race as we want to get practice in him around Cheltenham.
There is no reason why he won’t be every bit as good over fences as he was over hurdles.
It is a competitive three runner race. Sizing Tennessee would have beaten Black Corton last time, and based on our pecking order at home that would suggest West Approach should also beat him. Ballyoptic looked pretty good at Exeter so there’s no question it’s a trappy three runner race but West Approach has a great chance.
It was an above average novice chase that we won at Ffos Las and I thought he did it extremely well. He cantered home and I was really pleased with him. He has come on for that run and has jumped beautifully in his schooling sessions this week.
I was concerned that his hurdle rating of 157 was a bit exaggerated as he’d only won a maiden hurdle and then been placed in some good races but the way he performed at Ffos Las I’m not so sure it is now. He’s sharpened up a lot since too.
I think he is handicapped up to the hilt but at least Minella Rocco is keeping the weight down.
I think it is going to be difficult to win a handicap with him off 158. He is a horse we are going to aim at the Grand National this year.
We will probably get him out again pretty quick as he takes a lot of time to get fully fit. We took all of last season to get him right.
He’s not going to go for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, and he’ll probably run in the Becher Chase at Aintree and then have a break and be freshened up for the spring.
I think he was very well handicapped when he won the 3m3f contest at this meeting last year. He just cantered through the race and took advantage of his mark.
Last time out he ran like he wanted two and a half miles. This is ultra-competitive but he is in good nick and has had a prep run already so he deserves to take his chance.
He is consistent without winning, and he’s handicapped up to the hilt in truth. He has to come here as there are not that many options for him. He is not big enough to jump fences so we are sticking with hurdles. He is definitely good enough to pick up a place in this race.
2.25 Cheltenham – Fox Norton
This race has been planned out for him all the way through.
He had a little canter around Wincanton last Saturday. He is in tremendous form and this is the perfect prep race for the Tingle Creek. With Altior coming out of the Tingle Creek, it looks like our horse will probably start as favourite.
There is no reason why he won’t run a massive race here on Sunday.
We will be taking on Special Tiara again who beat us in the Champion Chase. Fox Norton has finished ahead of him before though so we are confident he can do it again.
3.30 Cheltenham – Slate House
It was a lovely start to his career at Cheltenham first time out. This is obviously a step up in class but as with all of our horses, they were fit enough to win first time out and have improved.
I think he is an extremely nice horse and I expect him to produce a big performance. It is no walkover by any stretch of the imagination but he is going in the right direction.
He will get further as he gets older but the ground will be slow here which certainly won’t harm him. In time he will get further but we are quite cautious nowadays not to these young horses any further than they need to at the start of their careers. We like to keep them fast.
4.00 Cheltenham – Sizing Cusimano
He is a nice horse who is making his debut. He was in training last season so will benefit from that. He might not head the pecking order for our bumper horses but he’s not far behind.
12.20 Fontwell – Quiz Master
Quiz Master had a big reputation with us as we fancied him as a bumper horse.
He had all sorts of problems and has had two wind operations and he has now come right. He should be better than a 0-100 horse.
At some stage it will click and he could potentially be a well handicapped horse.
2.05 Fontwell – Fergal Mael Duin
He has won first time out in the last two years at Fontwell, and he was only beaten half a length in this race last year, so we have saved him for this race for that reason.
We have tweaked his wind slightly. It’s a competitive race but he has definitely got a decent chance as he loves Fontwell and goes well fresh.
3.50 Fontwell – Minella Web
Missed all of last season with a leg injury. He came back at Plumpton a fortnight ago and finished third. He’s sharpened up for the run and he’s very capable of winning a 0-100 so will hopefully run a big race.