Joe Tizzard: “He will love the ground. We are expecting a huge run from him”
Joe talks us through the Tizzard stable’s Friday runners at Aintree and his own memories of the festival
Pingshou is a nice horse. Every time Aidan Coleman has got off him he’s been really impressed with him. He travelled well to two out in the Supreme and finished tenth in the end. He’s a lovely big horse and will be a nice horse for the future. It was a case of whether we went for a small race at a lesser track or we come and teach him something by running in a proper race here, and I think he’ll learn more from running in this race. I’m not getting carried away and saying he’ll be very competitive in this but we’d be delighted if he finished close to the placings. This will be his last run of the season. He’s a horse with very low mileage and we are looking forward to running him over fences next season.
Off the back of his Cheltenham run, the Melling Chase looks perfect for Fox Norton. He will love the ground. It’s the perfect time to go two and a half miles with him, and it’s something we’ve been looking forward to doing with him. We half mentioned it before Cheltenham when we looked at the Ryanair Chase, but we clearly made the right choice running in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham. He seems in great form at home. Robbie Power came over last week and he schooled him, and loved him. We are expecting a huge run from him. It was a great run at Cheltenham and I think he’ll take all the beating in this, I really do.
It was a cracking run at Cheltenham I just don’t like finishing second. In the next stride he would have won it, so you just beat yourself up about what could have been. You always watch the race back and wonder where you might have found 8 inches.
We run three in the Topham over the National fences. My record in the actual Grand National was shocking but my record over the fences was good. I rode a winner over the fences in the Grand Sefton, and I was second in two Tophams and third in another. My first ride over the fences was a winner and I’ll never forget it. I was on a horse called With Impunity, a big, scopey horse and he guessed at the first fence. But then all the way down the two straights, he’d learned from that first fence, and he was just eyeing up each fence, and jumping them beautifully, and it felt like we were in the air for seconds. I loved riding around there when on a good horse. I rode Joe Lively to finish tenth in the Grand National.
I rode Montifault to finish fifth straight after breaking my back. I came back in mid-January, and rode him in the National and he led to three out and didn’t put a foot wrong. I remember going down to Bechers’ Brook second time and half-talking to him to let him know what was coming up. It was brilliant. I took some heavy falls but loved riding over those fences. I’m now done as a jockey so I don’t miss riding over the fences. Now I’m on the training side I get nervous watching our horses run over them. They are still big fences here and lots of runners so I get nervous. We have three running tomorrow and it’s going to be a challenge keeping an eye on all three of them during the race.
Third Intention was third in it last year. His best form in his career has always been around Aintree; perhaps because it’s a flat track. So we’re hoping for a big run from him. Ultragold and Quite By Chance are both handicapped to their peaks but both are bonny little jumpers. Two and a half miles might stretch Ultragold but should suit Quite By Chance. They are both at the top of their handicap marks so it’s right to run and hopefully they can both run big races. You need a bit of luck.
I’ve known horses that you think will be brilliant over the National fences and they prove no good, and then horses that take liberties with park fences have more respect for these fences and love it round here, so there’s no rhyme or reason to it. You just have to hope they take to them. Over the years of being with Paul Nicholls, we’ve tried schooling them over the National fences and then they fall at the first, then you haven’t schooled them and they’ve gone and run brilliant, so there’s no secret formula. We’ll see what happens.
We then run West Approach and Elegant Escape in the novice hurdle that Thistlecrack won two years ago. West Approach disappointed us at Cheltenham. He travelled beautifully to two out and then stopped quickly. We checked everything, we took his blood, we scoped him, and there was no reason for it. He’s doing great at home, he’s back in novice company here, and if you forget Cheltenham he’s got a great chance in this. But he has got that disappointing run to get over. I am sure he will run a lot better.
Elegant Escape is a lovely young horse. He’s won two novice hurdles. He’s two years behind West Approach yet he’s running in the same bracket as him. I think he’ll be a terrific chaser next year and he’s still learning. It would be no surprise if he finished in the first half a dozen. It’s a big learning curve for him. He will be turned away after this race and will make a great chaser next season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ran into a place.
When Thistlecrack won this race it was on the Saturday. It was almost the last race and when Tom Scudamore came out of the weighing room to ride him we told him that he was our best chance of the week. He half-smirked when we said that. Then when he came back after it had bolted up he said “wow this is a bit special.” That was the first sighting of what he could do.