Lostintranslation ticks all the right boxes for Colin Tizzard as he prepares to take his next big step at Kempton on a path that may prove paved with gold.
The move up to three miles has been the making of the seven-year-old, and his victory over Bristol De Mai in Haydock’s Betfair Chase landed the first leg of a possible £1million bonus if he can add the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase on Boxing Day and then Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
It is no mean feat to beat Nigel Twiston-Davies’ grey on Merseyside, and big-race pilot Robbie Power likened last month’s performance to defeating Liverpool at Anfield.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname and Clan Des Obeaux stand in his way – but Tizzard – who has been forced to take out Thistlecrack due to a bruised foot – is full of hope for what looks sure be a memorable running of racing’s Christmas showpiece.
He said: “His work at home is lovely. We don’t really push him to find out how good he is – he just does what we want, and he doesn’t turn a hair.
“He has just matured into what you dream a young horse would mature into, and I think he is nearly there.
“He has got the pace for Kempton.
“You have only got to look at (top two-miler) Defi Du Seuil – we actually beat him over two and a half miles last year.
“Last year we campaigned him over two and a half miles, until the last race when we stepped up into the three-mile division.
“The King George is no gimme. He could be as good as he has ever been and still get beat, but he has got everything going for him.”
Lostintranslation’s high-profile campaign for the remainder of the season writes itself – with or without the huge financial implications.
“It would be lovely to win the (Jockey Club Triple Crown) bonus,” added Tizzard.
“We would love to win a King George and another Gold Cup – and we would be going for those races anyway – so it is not as if we are targeting it.
“But if we win both of those and that money it would be even better.
“Those three races test every horse.
“(Former stable star) Cue Card won the first two legs, and it looked as if he was just about to join in the race in the Gold Cup – and then he fell.
“Obviously the bonus is in the back of our minds – but if the million pounds wasn’t there would we still be doing it? Yes, we would.”
In a measure of the standard of the race, Willie Mullins’ 2018 Arkle winner Footpad is the lowest-rated horse in the field – behind Venetia Williams’ Aso, the other runner.
Assistant trainer Patrick Mullins is well aware of the task Footpad faces.
He said of Barry Geraghty’s mount: “Footpad is up against it in what looks a vintage renewal – but he’s in good form, and we hope he can acquit himself well.”