Joe Tizzard: “I can’t wait to see Fox Norton run in the King George”
12.25 Quiz Master
He ran really well last time and just bumped into one that was potentially very well handicapped. I know our horse hasn’t got his head in front yet, but he’s running really well and just waiting for his turn to win. He wasn’t bought to be a 102 rated horse but he is progressing , and I’m sure he’s going to be winning soon and then there will be more races in him.
12.55 Drinks Interval
She has the Paul Nicholls’ mare to beat in this and she’s a decent mare in her own right. She was unlucky to fall over at Wincanton last time. She has a double penalty in this but she’s above average, a 122 rated mare, and she has a good chance in this.
1.30 Saffron Wells
We are running Saffron Wells in this Pertemps race to get him qualified for the final. I imagine we will go back chasing after this. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ran into a place in this race but I’m dying to get him back over fences really where I think he can be winning soon. He’s a decent enough horse, and was placed in the Lanzarote.
2.05 Wizards Bridge
It looks a hot race but he has been ultra consistent. The jockey, Mitch, has won on him which is handy as he’s a tricky sort of horse. You have to kid him a lot a bit. He is quite exposed but he will keep galloping and jumping so that always gives him a chance. He’s a good fun horse.
3.15 On Demand
This race hasn’t cut up as much as we thought it was going to. We saw the entries and thought it might end up being 3 or 4 runners instead we have 6. She jumped really well around Exeter last week and it will do her no harm to have another spin at Wincanton, where she runs well. It’s a hot enough race though.
3.50 Burn Valley
She’s a home bred from a decent family, but I think this will be an educational run as much as anything as she hasn’t been in the yard that long and hasn’t been anywhere before this. The family are decent enough, but it may just take a couple of runs for the penny to drop.
12.45 Storm Home
The owner was keen to have a crack at this, so we are going to throw him in at the deep end here. When we ran him over a longer trip last time he didn’t get home but the form of his first run this season is strong. I think the two miles around Kempton will suit so we will see where we are with him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran a big race. He was difficult to train last year but we’ve got that right now. We thought he would win last time at Wincanton but he didn’t get home on really tacky ground. This horse has a lot of ability and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t in the first four.
1.55 West Approach and Elegant Escape
There’s not an awful lot between our pair, and in truth there’s not an awful lot between all the runners in the race. It looks an ultra-competitive race. I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them win. The division seems quite open. Elegant Escape looked superb at Newbury. It was the first time he has shown us what he’s all about and he did it really well.
And with West Approach, if you take out his little blip at Cheltenham, he won well at Ffos Las, and ran a good race winning at Exeter last time. Both of ours have a legitimate shot in an open race.
I loved riding around Kempton in these kind of races. You want a horse that’s going to jump particularly well and that’s what it’s all about . You turn down that back straight and there are five fences in a line to jump. You don’t make up much ground at Kempton so you need to be close enough turning down the back, and then you need to meet those fences right, as one mistake can knock you out of the race. What often happens at Kempton, is that they get racing a long way out. Everyone always says what a sharp, speedy track it is, well yes it is, but you also need to stay well there. That was why a horse like Kauto Star was so good round there, as he was a two miler that could travel easily through the race, and yet he also stayed well. The slower horses are always at it, flat to the boards the whole way, and that’s what catches them out.
We won the race last year with Royal Vacation, and I won the race as a jockey on Joe Lively for my Dad. It was the first Grade One we won for the yard. That day we had to rush off afterwards to Wincanton, which was rubbish. I had to weigh in, then run to the car and drive to Wincanton at some crazy speed to ride there. We didn’t really get to enjoy it that day.
I wouldn’t like to pick one in this race it’s that open. We don’t usually want to run two horses against each other but it’s a Grade One and they both deserve to take their chance in it.
3.05 Thistlecrack and Fox Norton
This is a really good race and an interesting one too. Thistlecrack bolted up in it last year and he is getting back to where he was. I’m not saying he’s absolutely there yet, but he has come on for his run at Newbury and he has sharpened right up. He is certainly fitter and he is going into it well. I would have loved to have had another run, perhaps over fences, so that we could know that he was going to put up a proper performance. We are instead hoping that he’s going to run a big race.
I was so confident that he was going to win it last year, and I can’t be as confident going into this year’s race. It just shows what a brilliant decision it was by John and Heather last year to go and run as a novice in the King George and win it rather than sticking to the novice route.
He hasn’t missed a day’s work since Newbury, and I certainly don’t want to put anyone off backing him, as he could go and win it again, but I just would have liked to see him run a better race at Newbury to be confident of how he will run. He could get placed and run an absolute blinder, such is the quality of the race, and we could then roll on to the Gold Cup.
I can’t wait to see Fox Norton run in the King George. We were thinking of stepping him up in trip as long ago as Aintree, and then through the summer. We stuck with the two mile route, and perhaps with hindsight we should have ridden him handier in the Tingle Creek but he certainly didn’t disgrace himself. He got two and a half miles well at Aintree. I was talking to Robbie Power last week and we agreed we just have to ride him like he’s the quickest horse in the race. He will travel into the race, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that he’ll still be travelling turn into the straight and it will then just be a case of whether he gets home.
It will be a very interesting race to watch as I’m curious to see what’s going to happen with the top two horses, Might Bite and Bristol De Mai. Are they going to get into a ding dong battle up front and upset each other’s rhythm? There’s no great pressure on us. Our two can just sit in behind the pace and bide their time. If Might Bite puts up a performance like he was going to do in the Kauto Star Novice Chase twelve months ago then he will be very hard to beat based on the clock. But then on bare form, Whisper is not far behind him, so it depends how you look at it.
Merry Christmas everyone