Joe Tizzard believes Lostintranslation can show his true colours in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Lostintranslation disappointed in the Christmas showpiece last year, and more recently also put in an under-par run when attempting to repeat last year’s victory in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
However, the eight-year-old is giving the right signals again at home as he prepares for Kempton next week.
“The only real worry is if the ground goes too soft, because Lostintranslation has shown he cannot handle testing conditions,” said Tizzard, assistant trainer to his father Colin.
“He certainly seems a much better horse at home at the moment.
“He did a cracking piece of work on Tuesday morning, and fingers crossed the ground hasn’t been too bad at Kempton yet this season. If it can handle the bit of rain coming through the next couple of days then the forecast doesn’t look too bad leading up to next week.”
Lostintranslation was beaten almost 50 lengths into third at Haydock last month – with Clan Des Obeaux, set to re-oppose in pursuit of his King George hat-trick, a long way in front of him in second that day.
Tizzard said: “The only concern is we’re coming off the back of a bad run – but he had to go into the Gold Cup (in which he was a close third) on the back of a bad run last season as well.
“I think the horse has proved his ability enough now that if we can get him right and on his A game he can be very competitive in these races.
“We’re not worried about the track at Kempton, because in the past he’s shown plenty of pace.
“We’re happy with where he is, but he has to bounce back from last time. He’s done it before, and we’re happy with where he is at the moment.”
Tizzard added in a zoom call for the Ladbrokes Christmas Festival that he fears the Paul Nicholls-trained pair of Clan Des Obeaux and Charlie Hall Chase winner Cyrname.
“I can see it cutting up to being five or six runners again, but it’s as competitive as ever,” he said.
“Clan Des Obeaux did nothing wrong at Haydock. He travelled like the winner and just got beaten by Bristol De Mai in his own backyard. He (the winner) has proven time and time again he loves Haydock on that ground.
“Seeing Cyrname do what he did at Wetherby proves he’s right back to his brilliant best as well.
“They are the two main ones to beat in there. Paul Nicholls is saying he can’t split them, and we’ve all got to go a bit to take them on.”
The Tizzards have their eye on the other three-mile Grade One on the Boxing Day card, the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, with The Big Breakaway.
Like Lostintranslation, The Big Breakaway has to a point to prove after being turned over at long odds-on at Exeter.
“Initially when he was beat at 2-9 it was very disappointing – but when we looked back they had just hack-cantered round,” said Tizzard.
“(Jockey) Robbie (Power) was having to do all his own donkey work.
“It was only the horse’s fifth run for us, so we’re learning all the time. We tried to get some more experience into him, and we got caught out a little bit.
“We’ve talked about putting headgear and cheekpieces on him. But Robbie said we don’t need to yet, let’s run him in a better race and we won’t be making the running. Let’s do that first.
“Don’t write him off.”
Tizzard is confident going back up to three miles can only be a plus and that The Big Breakaway can go all the way to the top.
“The idea of dropping him back in trip was to try to sharpen him up – because even at Cheltenham (on his successful chasing debut) he found things too easy,” he added.
“But it backfired on us. I’m sure three miles is his trip.
“He’s proved he got three miles at Cheltenham, so I don’t think we’ll be dropping him back to two and a half miles again.
“He’s got stacks if ability. We’ve got some nice novices this year, but I think he’s right at the top of the tree.
“He’s horse that within a few runs has gained this big reputation. He is very exciting. He’s just got this one blip, and we hope we can put that behind us on Boxing Day.”