Joe Tizzard has high hopes Fiddlerontheroof can get the Dorset team off to the best possible start at next week’s Cheltenham Festival in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Runner-up behind the high-class pair of Thyme Hill and Edwardstone on his first two starts over hurdles, the Irish bumper recruit made it third time lucky at Sandown before returning to the Esher venue to claim Grade One glory in January’s Tolworth Hurdle.
The Stowaway gelding is a general 6-1 shot for the traditional curtain-raiser in the Cotswolds on Tuesday week – and connections are confident he will make his presence felt if conditions remain testing.
Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father Colin, said: “He has got outstanding form this season. He won a Tolworth last time and we have saved him for the Supreme.
“A bit of rain this week will suit him as he handles soft ground really well. He is a lovely, big horse and his form is really good.
“His coat is coming at the right time. He will be our only one in the Supreme as Master Debonair is going to go straight to Aintree.
“I think Fiddlerontheroof has got a great chance, especially if the ground is on the slower side.”
Fiddlerontheroof is set to lead a formidable squad of novice hurdlers for the Tizzard team at Prestbury Park, with The Big Breakaway a leading contender for the following afternoon’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
The strapping chestnut was an expensive purchase at 360,000 euros, but has lived up to his hefty price tag thus far with impressive wins at Chepstow and Newbury.
“He is a gorgeous horse and he will run in the Ballymore,” Tizzard confirmed.
“We bought him at the Punchestown sales. He cost a lot of money, but he has done nothing wrong at all.
“We would have taken him to Cheltenham on Trials Day at the end of January, but he was fighting with a horse next door when they got fed and he kicked the side of the stable, his hock swelled up an he got a tiny infection for three days.
“It is a big ask on only his third start under Rules, to go and run in a race like this at Cheltenham. Envoi Allen is a hot favourite, but this is a very talented horse and he takes everything in his stride.
“He is as exciting a young horse we have had come through our yard and could end up anywhere.”
Harry Senior and Lieutenant Rocco are both set to contest the three-mile Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
Harry Senior looked better the further he went when scoring at Cheltenham in January, while Lieutenant Rocco has twice ploughed through testing conditions to win at Chepstow and Warwick.
Harry Senior also has Ballymore and Coral Cup, entries, but Tizzard said: “I think we will run him in the Albert Bartlett. If you can win a Coral Cup, you could nearly win an Albert Bartlett.
“He has been very progressive and looked to stay really well over two-miles-five last time, so three miles won’t be a problem.
“Three miles won’t be a problem for Lieutenant Rocco either. He has got a bit more to prove, but he has been mighty impressive in both of his runs and we are quite excited about him.”
Tizzard believes West Approach has “got a chance of running into a place” in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle.
Of the handicappers, Kilbricken Storm and Eldorado Allen appear particularly interesting ahead of the Pertemps Final and the County Hurdle respectively.
Tizzard said: “Kilbricken Storm is Pertemps-bound and has dropped back to a mark of 140. He is an Albert Bartlett winner who off his form this season, as he has been competitive, would have a live each-way chance.
“I think we are going to go to the County Hurdle with Eldorado Allen. He is on a workable mark and I think a fast-run two miles will suit him well.”
Ofalltheginjoints holds several Festival entries, but could swerve Cheltenham altogether, while Getaway Fred is entered in both the Ballymore and the Coral Cup, but is not certain to make the cut for the latter and may end up going to Kempton on Saturday week.
Beaufort West, who still holds an entry in Saturday’s Imperial Cup at Sandown, will be aimed at next week’s Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle, should he make the cut, with Tizzard believing he is on a “very competitive mark”.