Team Tizzard has had a November to remember and will be hoping it’s another big Saturday this weekend as Native River and Theatre Guide head to Newbury for the Hennessy Gold Cup.
Cue Card returned to winning form in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase for a third time at Haydock last Saturday and there have been the performances of the World Hurdle hero Thistlecrack to exude over, with the ante-post favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup also in action at Newbury's Winter Festival.
Native River had a pipe-opener over smaller obstacles in the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle and is well primed for Saturday and Theatre Guide provides able backing having been placed in one of the highlights of the jumps season for the past two years.
The Dorset-based family have plenty of fresh talent to work on with the influx of Alan Potts-owned horses and have already amassed over £584,000 in prize money from 27 winners.
Last season’s personal best for the stable with £1,443, 449 and 50 winners could well be smashed this season and all in all it looks like there are plenty of huge Saturdays ahead for the Venn Farm outfit.
Assistant trainer to his father Colin, Joe Tizzard said: “We couldn’t be happier and they are flying along. The horses are in great form and we have had some really big days. It’s never been as good as it is at the moment.”
Joe spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about the horses it is hoped will carry Venn Farm to new heights this term.
6 b g Kayf Tara – Briery Ann
115 rated hurdler. Runner-up in his last two starts in handicap hurdles at Chepstow (2m 7 1/2f) last week when beaten 10 lengths by Court King and at Carlisle (2m 1f) when failing by a neck behind Western Wave.
“He has been running over hurdles and was unlucky not to win at Carlisle and Chepstow the last twice. He has been schooling beautifully over fences and we are going to crack on and go chasing with him now. He looks like a chaser through and through and there are some nice three-mile novices' chases that will be perfect for him. He’s a winner waiting to happen really.”
7 b g Tamure – Briery Ann
138 rated chaser. Better effort this term on reappearance at Chepstow (2m 7 1/2f) in October when runner-up, beaten a length, to Potters Cross off a mark of 135.
“He was disappointing last time at Ascot but ran lovely the time before at Chepstow first time over three miles. He is going to run in ten day’s time in a three-mile handicap chase. On his winning last year he’s quite high in the handicap but there’s definitely a nice handicap in him.”
5 b g Kayf Tara – Ardrom
105 rated hurdler. Well beaten fifth in a handicap hurdle at Newbury (3m) this month off a mark of 108.
“It has taken awhile for the penny to drop with him but he’s going in the right direction. He has got himself handicapped and he stays well.”
10 b g King’s Theatre – Wicked Crack
176 rated chaser. Landed the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock (3m) last Saturday for a third time when coming home 15 lengths clear of Coneygree. Also winner of the King George VI Chase at Kempton (beating Vautour a head) and the Grade 1 Betfair Bowl at Aintree (3m) in April scoring by nine lengths from Don Poli. Successful in 15 of his 33 starts.
“He speaks for himself and he’s brilliant. He needed the run when third to Irish Cavalier in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby but was hugely impressive again at Haydock last week. He has come out of the race really well and goes for the King George. He has been our flagbearer for six years now and there’s nothing to say he’s not as good as he’s every been. He is a privilege to train and has just been brilliant.”
6 b g Nayef – Snow Goose
131 rated chaser. Having his first outing since April when runner-up, beaten three lengths, to Mercers Court at Kempton (2m 4 1/2f) on Monday.
“He finished second at Kempton and had been off the track for 200 days. He looked a bit ring rusty and didn’t jump as well as he can. He is very capable of winning off his mark and in two weeks' time there will be a nice two and a half mile handicap chase for him. He had a good blow after Monday and he will go very close next time.”
4 b g Dubai Destination – Graineuaile
Winner of a maiden hurdle at Chepstow (2m 3 1/2f) in October (short heading Persian Delight) and novice hurdle at Ascot (2m 5 1/2f) last Saturday when beating Laser Light three quarters of a length.
“He is a gorgeous four-year-old we bought at the Punchestown Sale and he is still very raw and a big frame of a horse. He is improving all the time and he is a very exciting horse who could turn out to be anything. In two years' time in three-mile chases he could well be top-class.”
FERGAL MAEL DUIN
8 gr g Tikkananen – Fad Amach
129 rated chaser. Made a winning reappearance at Fontwell (2m 5f) in October when beating Rothman two and a quarter lengths off a mark of 120 and respectable second, beaten two and half lengths to Aerial in the Southern National on his return to that course (3m 3f) this month off a mark of 125.
“He won first time out really nicely and loves Fontwell. He ran really nicely in the Southern National there and he’s entered to run at Newbury on Saturday. He jumps and gallops and he’s a nice staying prospect for the Winter.”
7 b g King’s Theatre – Erinatante
137 rated chaser. Creditable efforts in both starts this term and finished fourth, beaten five and three quarter lengths, to stablemate Viconte Du Noyer in the Grade 3 BetVictor Handicap Chase at the Open Meeting (3m 3f) this month.
“He ran really well in his two handicaps this year and finished fourth at Cheltenham in a competitive race a couple of weeks ago. He will be aimed at all the long distance staying chases and we might even have a look at the Welsh National with him.”
6 b g Lando – Natt Musik
167 rated chaser. Has won his two starts this season beating Sizing Platinum 11 lengths at Cheltenham (2m) in October off a mark of 146 when trained by Neil Mulholland and followed up in the Grade 2 Shloer Chase on his return to course and distance this month when beating Simpy Ned nine lengths on his first run for the stable.
“He has only had the one run for us and we had only had him ten days so we can’t take any credit for that. He turned up from Neil Mulholland’s looking beautiful and he has put himself right into the Champion Chase picture now. He had quite a nasty cut after Cheltenham so he won’t be out again until the New Year.”
8 b g Beat All – Sudden Spirit
136 rated chaser. Winner of three of his five starts this season and scored by 25 lengths from Set List in the Listed Badger Ales Handicap Chase at Wincanton (3m 1f) this month.
“He’s been brilliant this year and loves good ground. He won three this year including the Badger Ales at Wincanton last time. He is going to run at Newbury on Saturday but the Badger Ales was like his Gold Cup and he’s handicapped for it. As soon as the ground gets too soft he will have a break and be brought back in the Spring.”
10 gr g Old Vic – West Hill Rose
137 rated chaser when last seen out when finishing fourth, beaten 19 ½ lengths, to The Package in the 2015 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.
“He is probably going to be aimed at the Foxhunters this year. He has had lots of tendon troubles throughout his career but he looks superb at the moment and we are looking to run him in mid-December with the idea of running him in the Foxhunters.”
7 b m King’s Theatre – Sonnerschien
120 rated hurdler. Winner at Newton Abbot (2m 1f) in June and placed in four completed outings since.
“She has been very good but runs pretty keen in her races and needs to settle better. We are going to find a race for her in a fortnight’s time then she will have a break as she’s been on the go since the Summer. We are going to have one attempt on heavier ground and see if she handles it and make a decision from there.”
9 b g King’s Theatre – Festival Leader
135 rated chaser. Came closest to victory in seven starts last season when runner-up, beaten two lengths, to Doctor Phoenix in a Graduation Chase at Haydock (2m 1/2f) in November 2015.
“He has just come back to us and the owner has done a fair bit with him at home. He has been a bit disappointing the last couple of years but he looks an absolute picture and he will be running over Christmans somewhere.”
4 br g Westerner – Kind Word
Promise in two bumpers and two hurdles.
“He is a nice horse and he'll run in another novice hurdle during next week sometime. He should be a competitive horse for the Owners Club and after another run we will see what the handicapper thinks.”
10 gr g Tikkanen – Leitrim Bridge
138 rated chaser. Pulled up in a Veterans Handicap Chase won by Shuil Royale at Aintree (3m 1f) in October off a mark of 140.
“He disappointed at Aintree first time out but ran very well in the Scottish National last year and he will aimed at all those staying handicaps. We have just got him back right and he seems well at home at the moment.”
6 gr g Maresca Sorrento – Mick Madonna
135 rated chaser. Very promising first effort for the stable in a novices' chase at Cheltenham (2m 4f) in October when runner-up, beaten four lengths, to Shantou Village and fell last when well beaten on his return to that course (2m) this month.
“He ran really well first time and then his wind caught him out at Cheltenham last time and he just got exhausted. He has just had a wind operation and he will be out of action for six weeks. We will look for a nice novice chase with him in the New Year.”
6 b m King’s Theatre – Mystic Cherry
135 rated hurdler. Finished fourth, beaten 12 ½ lengths, to Surtee Du Berlais in a listed event at Kempton (3m 1/2f) on Monday.
“She ran a nice race on Monday and needed the run. We are going to go chasing with her now – she is a good mare and there are plenty of options over fences for her.”
MUFFINS FOR TEA
6 ch g With The Flow – Countess Point
115 rated hurdler. Placed in novice events at Newton Abbot (twice) and Taunton in March.
“He was terribly disappointing on Sunday at Exeter but he came back and he had a bit of a dirty nose. I think that once we get that right he will be competitive off his mark. He will go chasing sooner rather than later.”
6 ch g Indian River – Native Mo
155 rated chaser and 153 rated hurdler. A winner three times over fences last season including when beating Un Temps Pour Tout three and three quarter lengths in the Grade 2 Worcester Novices’ Chase at Newbury (2m 7 1/2f) last November. Ended campaign with a three length victory in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree (3m 1f) in April and fine comeback effort in the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby (3m) in October when runner-up, beaten two and three quarter lengths, to Silsol.
“He runs in the Hennessy on Saturday and had a really lovely end to last season when winning the Mildmay Novices' Chase. He had a really good prep run over hurdles at Wetherby and we think he is well handicapped. We know how tricky the Hennessy is but we think he’s got a massive chance and he deserves to be favourite.”
5 ch m Teofilo – Mimisel
115 rated hurdler. Winner of two handicap hurdles at Wincanton (2m 5 1/2f) this season. Scored by 18 lengths from Tidestream off a mark of 90 in October and by 12 lengths from Antartica De Thaix off a mark of 102 this month.
“She has been brilliant this year and won two. She has crept up the handicap 25lb but there is another race for her at Wincanton on December 1st. I think she’s still competitive off her mark.”
QUITE BY CHANCE
7 b g Midnight Legend – Hop Fair
147 rated chaser. Returned to winning form when beating Noche De Reyes six lengths at Ascot (2m 1f) in October and highly creditable runner-up, beaten a length and a half, to Sire De Grugy on his return to that course and distance last Saturday off a mark of 143.
“He has been a revelation this year and we didn’t think he was capable of stepping up again but first time at Ascot he broke the course record and was a really good second to Sire De Grugy last weekend. He obviously loves a stiff two miles around Ascot and in three weeks time he will be running there again. Long term he has put himself in the Grand Annual picture.”
7 b g Flemensfirth – Phardester
140 rated hurdler when beaten only two and a half lengths by Ordo Ab Chao in a Grade 2 event at Cheltenham (2m 4 1/2f) when last seen out in January 2015.
“He is a gorgeous horse and has masses of ability but has been fragile to train. He’s fit and well and he will go three-mile novice chasing in about three weeks time. As he’s fragile he has to have soft ground but he’s got a serious engine.”
6 b g King’s Theatre – Summer Break
129 rated chaser. Returned to winning form in a handicap chase at Lingfield (2m 7 1/2f) on Monday when accounting for Delgany Demon by three and a half lengths.
“He won nicely in a handicap at Lingfield at the start of the week and looked to have a bit in hand. He handled the soft ground really well and will be winning another nice handicap again. I was impressed with his jumping and we will find a race for him in two or three weeks' time.”
SEW ON TARGET
11 b g Needle Gun – Ballykea
136 rated chaser. Last win at Wetherby (2m 3 1/2f) in February when scoring by 32 lengths from Reynard off a mark of 132.
“He is a lovely old horse and he has been an absolute star for us. There is a two-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham in a fortnight’s time. He loves the course and he doesn’t seem to be showing his age at all.”
8 b g Indian Danehill – Chanson Indienne
143 rated chaser. Unplaced in two outings in Ireland this season but took the Galway Plate Handicap Chase at Galway (2m 6 1/2f) by five and a half lengths from The Paparazzi Kid in July 2015.
“He is a nice horse and won the Galway Plate for Henry de Bromhead in 2015. He was making a noise at home and has had a wind operation since he came to us. Hopefully, that will put him back on track as he has a lot of potential.”
7 b g Flemensfirth – La Zingarella
139 rated chaser. Unplaced favourite to Un Beau Romain on his debut for the stable at Cheltenham (2m) this month.
“We ran him over the wrong trip at Cheltenham two weeks ago. We ran him over two miles and he is crying out for further. We will step him up to two and a half miles and possibly even three miles. He is very competitive off his mark and should go very close next time.”
8 br g Milan – Hazel’s Tiara
154 rated chaser. Pulled up in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham (2m 4 1/2f) on his debut for the stable but placed second, beaten seven lengths, to Top Gamble in a Grade 2 event at Fairyhouse (2m 1f) in March.
“He has just had a wind operation as well after disappointing at Cheltenham. He made a noise and he is a horse we think will like some nice Spring ground. We will give him a couple of runs before the Cheltenham and the Aintree meetings.”
8 b g Definite Article – Quest of Passion
141 rated chaser. Unplaced in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham (2m 4 1/2f) latest start in November but previously runner-up, beaten 11 lengths, to now stable companion Fox Norton at Cheltenham in October.
“He’s a lovely horse – we ran him over two and a half miles last time and he looked like the winner turning for home. We are going to drop him back to two miles and he is a winner in the waiting.”
8 ch g Robin Des Champs – Jolivia
140 rated hurdler. Ran a creditable race on his chasing bow at Cheltenham (2m 4 ½f) this month when runner-up, beaten ten lengths, to O O Seven.
“He ran a super race Cheltenham on his first race over fence when runner-up to O O Seven. He jumped like a buck and he will running in all the top novice chases. There is not an actual plan for him but he’s a smart horse and might even be an Arkle Horse.”
9 b g King’s Theatre – Erintante
149 rated chaser. Placed in the Hennessy Gold Cup for the last two years and runner-up, beaten two and a half lengths, to Indian Stream on his reappearance at Wetherby (2m 3 1/2f) in October.
“He is also going for the Hennessy and has finished second and third in the last two. He always needs his first run and is a bit high in the handicap for winning at Kempton last year but I wouldn’t rule him out of getting placed again as he’s really well.”
7 b g King’s Theatre – Starry Lady
107 rated chaser and 110 rated hurdler. Scored by a length and a half from Jaunty Inflight in a handicap hurdle at Exeter (2m 1f) on Sunday.
“He won nicely at Exeter on Sunday and he seems in really good form with himself. He has taken a long time to fill out and grow into his body like some King’s Theatres do but he looked like he had a bit in hand and can win again.”
9 b g Azamour – Third Dimension
154 rated chaser. Disappointed in a Grade 2 Chase at Ascot last Saturday but had previously scored by a length and three quarters from God’s Own in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase at Aintree (2m 4f) off a mark of 150.
“He disappointed at Ascot on Saturday but won the Old Roan Chase at Aintree really well. He is a horse who needs to be fresh and well so we will give him a break over Christmas and the New Year. He needs a flat track.”
8 b g Kayf Tara – Ardstown
174 rated hurdler. Unbeaten in his last five races over hurdles which culminated in a seven length success from Alpha Des Obeaux in the Grade 1 World Hurdle at Cheltenham (3m) in March and a seven length victory from Shaneshill in the Grade 1 Liverpool Stayers Hurdle at Aintree (3m 1/2f) the following month. Heavily odds-on when the very impressive winner of Novices Chase at Chepstow (2m 7 1/2f) in October and at Cheltenham (3m 1/2f) this month.
“He’s been brilliant and he goes to Newbury on Saturday for the Grade 2 Novices' Chase. We want to get as much experience as possible into him. He could go for the Feltham at Kempton on Boxing Day and then the Cotswold Chase before the Gold Cup. He is an amazing horse and we haven’t got the bottom of him yet.”
6 b g Tikkanen – Takeanotherpick
91 rated chaser. Placed in handicap chases at Newton Abbot (3m 2f) in October and Fontwell (2m 5f) in November.
“He is what he is and is limited but he’s finished second and third this year. He’s an out and out stayer and he will be winning his races.”
8 b/br g Kapgarde – Hot D’Or
136 rated chaser. Finished fifth, beaten 16 lengths, to Sir Valentino in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter (2m 1 1/2f) this month off a mark of 139.
“He disappointed in the Haldon Gold Cup but he’s going to go to Newbury on Saturday. He came out of that race a little bit wrong and it was probably too high a class race for him but now that we have the trip right for him he will be very competitive.”
6 b g Scorpion – Fox Theatre
134 rated hurdler. Finished fourth, beaten four lengths to Anteros in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham (3m 1 1/2f) this month and previously placed in similar event at Chelteham (2m 5f) and Newton Abbot (3m 2 1/2f) in October.
“He is a lovely little horse and is really competitive in those staying handicap hurdles. It’s only a matter of time before he goes chasing but we thought we would pick up a handicap hurdle with him first.”
4 b g Kalanisi – Vindonissa
Runner-up in a bumper at Chepstow in October and failed by only a short head behind Burton Boru on his hurdling debut at that course (2m 3 1/2f) this month.
“He should have won at Chepstow last time but he was very green and had a look at every hurdle and it probably cost him 20 lengths. He is going to run at Newbury on Friday and has done a lot of schooling since his last run. If he doesn’t have the greenness he will go very well in the Novices’ Hurdle.”
6 b g Westerner – Ardstown
139 rated hurdler. Off the mark over hurdles at Newton Abbot (2m 1f) in May when beating Ozzie The Oscar three and three quarter lengths and recently third, beaten four and a half lengths, to Peregrine Run in a Grade 2 event at Cheltenham (2m 5f).
“He is a half brother to Thistlerack and is a beautiful horse. We have kept him a novice for this year purposely and he is going to run in all the big novice events and end up in an Albert Bartlett or something like that. He is going to go chasing next year and is a gorgeous horse.”
7 b g Alflora – Island Hopper
116 rated chaser and 125 rated hurdler. Success in a handicap hurdle at Chepstow (2m 7 1/2f) at the start of the month and unplaced in a handicap chase at Exeter since.
“He won a couple of runs ago and has a bit of a mind of his own but he’s won his races. He will have his day again soon.”
6 b g Morozov – Enistar
117 rated chaser. Runner-up, beaten four and a half lengths, to Mumgos Delight in a handicap chase at Bangor (2m 4 1/2f) this month off his current mark.
“He ran well at Bangor last time when finishing second and jumped really well. He is competitive off his mark and learning his job over fences and will pick one up in a minute.”
BRAMBLE BROOK – looks the sort to prosper in the novice chase division.
CUE CARD – looked as good as ever when winning a third Betfair Chase and other major pay days loom large.
ELEGANT ESCAPE – looks a real tough nut who also oozes class – onwards and upwards.
FOX NORTON – recent recruit who is rapidly climbing the two mile chasing ladder.
NATIVE RIVER – had a nice prep for Saturday Hennessy when finishing second in the West Yorkshire Hurdle and in rude health.
THISTLECRACK – the sort trainers have sleepless night for and class act who can only get even better over fences.