Champion horse trainer Colin Tizzard is set to lead a winning team of runners at this year’s highly anticipated Cheltenham Festival! In last year’s meeting, Tizzard had a very successful run having trained the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River as well as the Albert Bartlett Novice’s Hurdle winner Kilbriken Storm. With around fifty Cheltenham Festival entries already in, we’re eager to see how this renowned trainer will fare at The Festival.
Found out more about the most prominent horses in his team who we think are sure to make some big wins!
The Cheltenham Gold Cup Trio
This year, Colin Tizzard has three entries for Cheltenham’s Gold Cup race. His runners in this highly esteemed race include last year’s winner Native River, Thistlecrack and Elegant Escape.
At the top of the list and favourite to win is reigning champion Native River. Out of the three, many argue that his experience in the race gives him a better chance of victory. Currently, Native River is the third-favourite to win the Gold Cup in the latest ante-post betting. He stands behind big names such as Presenting Percy and Clan Des Obeaux. Nonetheless, could this entry lead to a second Gold Cup victory for the horse?
During a recent stable tour, Tizzard said:
“He looks fit to me now and I don’t think he’ll go away again… Hopefully Cheltenham gets some rain as nobody wants it fast ground for the Festival and there’s no doubt softer conditions play to Native River’s strengths as it slows the others down a little bit… I think it’s quite an open year and there’s no absolute standout and it always comes down to stamina – Native River has plenty of it.”
Elegant Escape is a younger horse who is showing clear signs of rising improvement. Despite suffering a range of defeats in his racing career, the seven year old has shown great skill in his most recent runs. His last run was the highest rated performance which shows great signs ahead of Cheltenham. At the end of last year, he rose to victory winning the Welsh National and also came in at a satisfactory second in the Ladbrokes Trophy.
When asked about the horse, Colin noted:
“He’s done everything right, he’s a young improving horse and we’ve seen horses lower than his rating (162) go very close and even win Gold Cups… He’s the younger horse and the one who might just step up again. His last run was his highest-rated run and there should be more to come.”
Having been unraced until he was five years old, Thistlecrack gained his first National Hunt win in 2014. His recent King George race saw him run superbly, keeping close distance with winner Clan Des Obeaux. As with an older horse, Colin has been keen not to put too much pressure on him in recent seasons.
Speaking on Thistlecrack, he said:
“Thistlecrack is a very good horse and he always walks around looking the part. He’s won a King George and he was quite close to Clan Des Obeaux at Kempton this year. He looks to have as good a chance as anything and he’s proven at Cheltenham going left-handed. He was magnificent when he won the Stayers’ Hurdle, he’s 11 years old now and you can’t get away from that but he’s hardly raced until he was six or seven.”
Other Cheltenham Entries To Watch
Alongside this dazzling trio, Colin Tizzard has a number of other horses to keep a keen eye on including rising star Elixir Du Nutz. Read what the trainer had to say about his Cheltenham Festival candidates below:
“I thought he ran a lovely race at Ascot, he just jumped a little bit flat. Sometimes he has a bit of back trouble but we’ve addressed that and he seems well. It all hinges around Altior really but we have the option and Fox Norton nearly won the Champion Chase a few years ago.”
“He’s a bit of a forgotten horse. But he was very good against Elixir De Nutz, Master Debonair and Native River, for a three miler, he was right upside them. We were going to go novice chasing with him, first time up he was alright, then not so good second time and so we were sort of split. He’s had six weeks off and since then he’s been straightforward… He’s in good form.”
Elixir Du Nutz
“He was absolutely brilliant in a gallop at Wincanton last week. We could have another little away day, but we might leave him be as he looks very fit. His form stands up to anybody else’s in the Supreme. He’s won his last three races and we took him to Wincanton last Monday where he did a brilliant piece of work – he pulled five lengths clear.”
With that said, we’re excited to see what winners will come forth out of Tizzard’s well trained, champion team! We’re sure to be in for some thrilling National Hunt action in March!
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