Cheltenham - At The Races

Colin Tizzard Stable Tour

    The Dorset trainer took the Gold Cup last year with Native River he and returns to defend his crown as part of squad that has strength in depth from exciting novices to Festival standing dishes.
  • Tuesday 26 February 2019
  • Stable Tours

Colin Tizzard achieved his own magnificent seven when Native River displayed the battling qualities that have been a hallmark of his career then beating Might Bite four and half lengths in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup and the winner-hungry trainer will looking to add to that tally in the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival.

The ball was set rolling when Cue Card landed the 2010 Champion Bumper and that former legend at Venn Farm in Sherborne when onto victory in the 2013 Ryanair Chase in a year in which he completed a double at the meeting with Gold Chieftain in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

Oiseau De Nuit gave Tizzard success in the Grand Annual in 2011 and Gold Cup contender Thistlecrack was at the height of his powers when landing 2016 World Hurdle.

There was another double at the big meeting last year when Kilbricken Storm took the Albert Barlett Novices’ Hurdle just 40 mins before Native River was sent on his way to that famous Gold Cup success.

Colin kindly spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about some of his leading prospects for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

Older Horses

Elegant Escape (IRE)

Form Profile:

162-rated chaser. Winner of the Coral Welsh National at Chepstown (3m 5 1/2f) in December by a length and a quarter from Ramses De Teillee off a mark of 151 and stayed on well when runner-up, beaten half a length, to Frodon in the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham (3m 1 1/2f) in January.

Trainer Says:

Elegant Escape has won a Welsh National and been second in a Ladbrokes Trophy and he just got touched off by Frodon the other day at Cheltenham. He has done everything right and is a young improving horse. He is 162 now so he hasn’t got to find much. The last five strides Frodon went on and we nearly got to him but that horse went on again. We got five or six lengths behind him at the top of the hill, but we made them up and just petered out. My immediate thoughts were the Welsh National took a bit out of him, but he has had six weeks since then. He has looked very good gallops this week and he is the one that is still improving. His last run was his top-rated one and you must not ignore him.

Video Form
27 Dec 2018:
15 Oct 2017:
25 Oct 2016:

Elixir De Nutz (FR)

  • 5-y-o; grey gelding
  • Breeding: Al Namix - Nutz (Turgeon)
  • Trained by: C L Tizzard
  • Last Race: Sandown, 5 Jan 2019 14:25
  • Result: Won/5, mostly jumped slickly, made all, hit 5th, ridden between last 2, driven and stayed on strongly run-in, unchallenged
  • View full form
Form Profile:

150-rated hurdler. Has improved with each run this season and completed a hat trick when beating subsequent Elite hurdle victor Grand Sancy in the Grade 1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown (2m) in January.

Trainer Says:

His form stands up to anybodies I would say in the race (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle) and he pulls quite hard and goes from the front. We haven’t even got a jockey yet – Harry Cobden has ridden him three times but I am sure he will ride for Paul Nicholls. We took him to Wincanton last Monday and he was absolutely brilliant. Looking at him now we could have another away day again, but we may just trust ourselves. We took him to Wincanton with Native River, Kilbricken Storm and Master Debonair and they had a job to hold on to Elixir De Nutz and he went five lengths clear. He is a strong front-runner.

Video Form
5 May 2018:

Fox Norton (FR)

  • 9-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Lando - Natt Musik (Kendor)
  • Trained by: C L Tizzard
  • Last Race: Ascot, 16 Feb 2019 15:55
  • Result: 3/6, held up in last pair until mistake and dropped to rear 6th, given time to recover, closer tracking leaders 4 out, 2nd after next until approaching 2 out, no extra in 3rd
  • View full form
Form Profile:

166-rated chaser. Finished runner-up, beaten seven lengths, to Altior in the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot (2m 1f) in January and third, beaten 18 ½ lengths, to Cyrname in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase at Ascot (2m 5f) earlier this month.

Trainer Says:

He is slipping under the radar a little bit. I thought he ran a nice race at Ascot the other day, but he just jumped a bit flat. Sometimes he has a bit of back trouble so he had to have a bit of medication in his pelvis. He will go for the Ryanair but we would leave him in the Queen Mother. We very nearly won the Champion Chase the year before when Douvan never run his race and frightened everyone off, so we will keep the door open. He was much calmer last time and he run a proper race. I think he is more of a two and a half miler, but the Champion Chase is about pace and stamina kicking in at the end of that race. Ground-wise, I think he is better on softer ground.

Video Form
16 Feb 2019:
19 Jan 2019:
25 Apr 2017:

Kilbricken Storm (IRE)

Form Profile:

152-rated chaser. Winner of the 2018 Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham (3m) last March by three lengths from OK Corral. Made a successful debut over fences at Ffos Las (3m) in November when short heading Cobolobo but didn’t jump with any fluency when unplaced to Santini in a Grade 2 event at Newbury (2m 7 1/2f) in December.

Trainer Says:

He is a bit of a forgotten horse, but he was very good against Elixir De Nutz, Master Debonair and Native River. For a three-miler has was right up beside them and was brilliant. We were going novice chasing this season and first time out he was ok then second time out he ran no sort of race. He had to have six weeks off but ever since we have had him back he has been straightforward. He had had his Wincanton gallop and people can crab his performance at Cheltenham, but he won the Albert Bartlett quite easily. He was good at Wincanton – we took six up there and he was the one you would take out of the gallop. He has come out of that gallop as fresh as paint and I know he might have had the run of the race last year but he is a Cheltenham Festival winner and he deserves to take his chance in the Stayers’ Hurdle.

Video Form
11 Nov 2018:
25 Apr 2018:

Lostintranslation (IRE)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Flemensfirth - Falika (Hero's Honor)
  • Trained by: C L Tizzard
  • Last Race: Cheltenham, 14 Mar 2019 13:30
  • Result: 2/10, led before 2nd, joined 3 out, driven after next, ridden and headed flat, kept on until no extra and held near finish
  • View full form
Form Profile:

150-rated chaser. Off the mark over fences with a length and a quarter success from Defi Du Seuil in the Grade 2 Dipper Novices Chase at Cheltenham (2m 4 1/2f) on New Year’s Day and beaten three quarters of a length by that rival in the Grade 1 Scilly Novices Chase at Sandown (2m 4f) this month.

Trainer Says:

He is one of the favourites for the JLT and I maybe should have had him in the three-miler (RSA). When the entries went he was so good over two and a half so it is fine He was second to Defi Du Seuil so it is lovely form. He is just a lovely chaser and he has got form round Cheltenham. They will go at a pace and he can jump off pretty handy. You have only got to look at him that he is a big strong horse and whatever we do this year we can have him as a Gold Cup horse next year as that is what I think he is. He has got more stamina than speed. Barry Geraghty sat behind us at Sandown and just done us for speed from the last. That won’t happen at Cheltenham where there is 15 or 20 and the pace will be twice as much so hopefully the stamina will kick in even more. He is a lovely horse for the future. I would have thought we would step him up to three at Aintree after.

Video Form
14 Oct 2017:

Master Debonair

Form Profile:

Winner of two of his three bumpers and scored by a neck from Thyme Hill in a listed event at Cheltenham in November.

Trainer Says:

Master Debonair was second at Cheltenham then won a Listed bumper at Cheltenham. We have purposely held him back as he can have another three runs in the spring. He was very good in that gallop at Wincanton. He has done his work and won’t need to do anymore so we will take him there for the Champion Bumper. Spring ground will be fine for him. He is quite a fast horse. He has got form in the bag but whether it is good enough is anyone's guess. Hopefully next year we can aim for a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle as that is what we think of him. He is a good horse. You don’t know where he will end up.

Video Form
15 May 2018:

Mister Malarky

Form Profile:

148-rated chaser. Has won three of his four chases and returned to winning form in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot (3m) in February when scoring by a length and a half from Now McGinty.

Trainer Says:

He has been a revelation over fences and he was just a nice hurdler and got up to 120 but he’s 148 over fences and he is good enough to run in any RSA. Robbie Power thought he was flat out at Ascot the other day, but the times were fast. I thought it was good ground at Ascot and hopefully it won’t be as good at Cheltenham. He has jumped very well and is a thorough stayer and the owners would be leaning towards the RSA. He’ s a novice as well and we want this horse for next year. People say the four-miler is an easy race but I don’t think it is as there will be some good horses running in the four-miler who will make damn good three-mile chasers next year.

Video Form
16 Feb 2019:
19 Nov 2018:
1 Apr 2018:
8 Nov 2017:

Native River (IRE)

  • 9-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Indian River - Native Mo (Be My Native)
  • Trained by: C L Tizzard
  • Last Race: Cheltenham, 15 Mar 2019 15:30
  • Result: 4/16, slow away, headway to chase leaders 3rd, led 11th, headed 15th, led again 16th, headed before 2 out, stayed on but no impression on leaders flat
  • View full form
Form Profile:

173-rated chaser. Landed the 2018 Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup at Cheltenham (3m 2 1/2f) last March by four and a half lengths from Might Bite. Finished runner-up, beaten four lengths, to Bristol De Mai in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock (3m 1 1/2f) in November and third, beaten 13 ½ lengths, Clan Des Obeaux in the King George VI Chase at Kempton (3m) on Boxing Day.

Trainer Says:

He is a Gold Cup winner that got beat by a very good horse (Bristol De Mai) around Haydock first time. When he went out in the Feltham in 2015 he was always looking to go out left-handed and he done exactly the same in the King George. Five out you thought he was going to pull up but he stayed on really strong and on the line you would say if had another two furlongs he would be right up there with them. The Gold Cup is three miles two the King George is three miles. The King George is run 56 seconds faster than the Gold Cup and that brings Native River with his stamina right back into it. There are young horses coming through but that doesn’t concern me at all. We’ve had a lovely preparation with him and not run the legs off him all winter. The race will be stamina race and if he is on song, which he should be, he has got as good a chance as he did last year. I hope Cheltenham put on plenty of water this week and then it rains like hell so it will be nice and heavy ground. We don’t want Cheltenham being quick. We want to have it on the slow side for all of horse so all these beautiful horses racing on it come back fine. He has got a beautiful low action, but he is better on softer ground than quicker ground. Last season we only had one run and he won well at Newbury but no disrespect to the second, but he was not that good of a horse. Then we went to Cheltenham on his second run and he was right on his game. It is a similar profile this year. He has had two races and a racecourse gallop. You can guarantee what Richard (Johnson)n will want to do and make a pace of it. That worked for us last year. It would be lovely if he had some company up there. The more pace the better. We’ve all seen him and he stays. He would stay four miles. The stronger the pace the better he will be.

Video Form
27 Dec 2016:

The Russian Doyen (IRE)

Form Profile:

141-rated chaser. Has won two of his three races over fences this season and scored by four and a half lengths from Charming Zen in a novices’ handicap chase at Newbury (2m 1/2f) in January off a mark of 138.

Trainer Says:

He is probably not quite up to open class, but he could go for the two and a half mile novices’ handicap – the Close Brothers. He has two chases this year and he is a beautiful horse. Looking at him today he is the biggest and the best that I have seen him. He is growing still and is still on the improve.

Video Form
15 Oct 2017:

Thistlecrack

Form Profile:

170-rated chaser. Former top-class staying hurdler who is starting to show a similar level of form over fences. Finished third, beaten five and three quarter lengths, to Bristol De Mai in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock (3m 1 /12f) in November and second, beaten a length and a half, to Clan Des Obeaux in the Grade 1 King George VI Chase at Kempton (3m) on Boxing Day.

Trainer Says:

Thistlecrack is a cracking horse. When he was hurdling and winning the Stayers’ Hurdle he was a good as you will see. He has won a King George and he got quite close at Kempton to Clan Des Obeaux. I think he has got as good a chance as any of the others in the race. He is 11 years old and you can’t get away from that, but he hardly raced at six or seven. He has proved he is good round Cheltenham. He is just a good horse.

Video Form
25 Oct 2016:

Ultragold (FR)

Form Profile:

147-rated chaser. Best effort this term when third, beaten six lengths, to Walk In The Mill in the Grade 3 Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree (3m 2f) in December off a mark of 148.

Trainer Says:

We’ve had this brain wave this week that we might run him in the Cross-Country Chase. It seemed a good prep race for one of the others last year. We run him at Cheltenham the last two or three years and although he hasn’t done it he has done quite well, and it has been a good prep for Aintree. He is in the Ultima but he will be put in the Cross Country chase. We will school him, but I just think he will have a better chance of winning the Cross Country than he would the Ultima. Then we will run him in the Grand National. He is in the Topham but if he gets in he will go for the Grand National. We tried him over Warwick over three miles six and he stayed on and he was fine. There was no issue on his stamina.

Video Form
4 Nov 2017:
15 Oct 2017:
27 Dec 2016:

Vision Des Flos (FR)

Form Profile:

150-rated hurdler. Return to winning form when scoring by a length and half from If The Cap Fits in the Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell (2m 3f) on Sunday.

Trainer Says:

He has been a lovely horse and if he hadn’t unseated Tom Scudamore in his first novice chase I’m sure he would have been chasing now. We decided he was only five at the time so we will run him in all the big two and two and a half mile hurdles. On Sunday he found his easiest race. He travelled supremely well and the second horse could have been entered in the Champion Hurdle under different circumstances. He travels well enough to go two miles and I’m sure the Champion Hurdle will be run at a frantic pace and we wouldn’t be afraid of running him on the pace but there are four or five at least if not more that are higher rated. He is 12-1 for the Coral Cup but it is a decision we don’t need to decide today it is something to think about.

Video Form
24 Feb 2019:
1 Dec 2018:
20 Oct 2018:
24 Apr 2018:
16 Dec 2017:

West Approach

Form Profile:

154-rated hurdler. Has finished runner-up to Paisley Park in his last two races over hurdles. Beaten two lengths on the first occasion in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot (3m) in December and 12 lengths in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham (3m) in January.

Trainer Says:

He has been second to Emma’s (Lavelle) horse twice. When he was chasing he would just frighten himself over fences and he would just jump to high and lose ground. Over hurdles twice we’ve had a go at Paisley Park. We were quite close to him at Ascot but at Cheltenham we were not quite so close, but we did beat the rest. We have this idea that he doesn’t want to be in a crowd, but I don’t really agree with that so next time we are going to find out where Paisley Park is in the race and sit on his tail and when he goes go with him. We’ve been in front of him the last twice and he has done us properly for stamina so if we ever get our chance in the race it would be lovely to sit and bring him late on. He has got plenty of pace for a three-miler and if we could cover him up for a bit and bring him late he would have half a chance.

Video Form
22 Dec 2018:
21 Oct 2017:
4 May 2016: