Cheltenham Festival Stable Tour: Colin Tizzard leads us through his 2018 including Native River, Fox Norton and Finian's Oscar

Racing
Trainer Colin Tizzard stands with his dog
Trainer Colin Tizzard stands with his dog

Colin Tizzard has trained five Cheltenham Festival winners and hopes to add to that tally in 2018 with the likes of Native River, Cue Card and Fox Norton. Get the latest on his team.

Native River (Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup: 11/2)

We were a bit later getting him in and we just wondered all year whether having him ready to win the Hennessy and then the Welsh National, then the Denman all last season, may have taken the edge off him a bit. And I'm not sure if we were running into the Gold Cup last year not in the best of form.

This time around he's just had the one run, we had him ready from Christmas, and I don't know, maybe we beat a horse that didn't stay and another that needed the run (in the Denman Chase at Newbury), but the manner in which he did it was equally as good as he's ever been.

He's got a wonderful chance (in the Gold Cup). The Gold Cup is the hardest race of the season as they go flat out and normally the big strong stayers win it. And then you get horses like Sizing John who can travel and then show pace at the end.

It's not always the same type that wins it, but it's just about always the best horse on the day.

We won't know how much he'd come on for Newbury, we did have him ready though - he'd been to Larkhill three times. We didn't want him to get tired and not do himself justice, but he's bound to improve a bit.

There's a fair bit that could go wrong in the next few weeks but it worked out fine at Newbury and that was the original plan.

I think his light campaign will help him, hopefully.

Cue Card (Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup: 25/1)

Despite what's been said in the last few months he's looked as good as he ever has been to me.

We watched a recording of the Betfair Ascot Chase and he was only half a length down when he got interfered with. I'm not taking anything away from the winner (Waiting Patiently) as he won on merit.

I know we were in two minds through the winter over what we were going to do, but I think he will improve massively for that run. Whether he goes for the Ryanair or the Gold Cup isn't decided.

I've just spoken to Jean (Bishop, owner) and we don't need to decide yet.

It's amazing that he's maintained his form like he has and he ran right up to near his best mark last weekend. He beat the likes of Frodon and Top Notch out of sight, it was a good race.

That ovation he got at the weekend (at Ascot) was amazing and really took me by surprise. So many people enjoy watching him run.

We've felt for the last few years that he's been better over three (miles). I see no reason why we shouldn't go for the big one. But he'd have the same sort of chance in either race.

Fox Norton (Ryanair Chase: 5/1)

He missed the race I wanted him to go for (Game Spirit) as he had a bit of puss in his foot and now he's ripped a shoe off, but he's great.

He's had issues in his back in the past and he wasn't great after the King George where he was pulled up. He's fine now though.

I expect we'll go for the Ryanair, unless Altior scares everything off and then maybe we'd take him on. He nearly won it last year and that was supposedly when we were out of form.

His best form though you'd say is over two and a half. It was two and a half when he won at Aintree and two and a half at Punchestown when he beat Un De Sceaux.

Finian's Oscar (JLT Novices' Chase: 12/1)

He'll go for the JLT although he's still entered in the RSA Chase. We schooled him this morning back over fences. He ran in the Cleeve Hurdle and he didn't get round, he was making a noise so he was pulled-up.

At the same time he wasn't running too well we had a lot of other horses that weren't running very well and most of them have seemed to come through that.

In hindsight you think we had a quiet Christmas and now they seem quite fresh, sometimes the cards you're dealt come good in the spring. I think our horses are right back in good form.

We've done his palate (wind operation), we've schooled him this morning and I'd say he'll have a pair of blinkers on and go for the JLT.

It's just his jumping all season has been a little bit suspect. But the blinkers should help in that respect.

Elegant Escape (RSA Chase: 16/1; National Hunt Chase: 7/1)

The most significant fact about this horse is that he's got the closest any horse has got to Samcro when they met in a point-to-to-point. It was only a length or so and Samcro came off the bit too!

This is a beautiful young horse and one of our better novice chasers. He's had a similar campaign that Native River had. He would stay four miles and he's in the National Hunt Chase. We'd like to think we could get one of the top Irish amateurs but we've learnt it's not always that easy.

He beat Black Corton at Newbury and he was closing on him fast at Kempton too. Kempton's such a sharp track and I think Cheltenham will be right for him. It'll be the RSA or the four-miler.

At the moment we're definitely leaning towards the RSA, if a top Irish jockey came then it might swing it (towards the National Hunt Chase).

Vision Des Flos (Ballymore Novices' Hurdle: 20/1)

There's not many novices that win a Listed race by 31 lengths as he did at Exeter. He's obviously a decent horse and hopefully he's in the same form at Cheltenham.

He had his wind done and he's got options at the Festival.

Slate House (Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle: 33/1)

He's got some good form from the beginning of the season. I don't think he was quite on his game last time he ran but he travels supremely well in his races. He just didn't quite stay on heavy ground over two and a half and he will go for the first race on the first day, the Sky Bet Supreme.

He's a beautiful horse and won his only point-to-point, he'll go novice chasing next year.

He's a (son of) Presenting and I don't think he'd want soft ground. Good spring ground should be ideal.

Lostintranslation (Ballymore Novices' Hurdle: 33/1)

He's probably a two miler but he's in both. He's rated 134. He's a lovely horse, he ran very flat at Haydock but he'll be fine.

We'll probably stick to the novices, I'm not a great fan of going for the handicaps with novices. They're all going to be chasers in time and he's a nice horse.

We shall probably juggle his target closer to the time, we don't want to pigeon hole them. You need stamina to win over two and you need pace to win over two and a half. So I don't think it really makes much of a difference. We'll see what the owners fancy doing.

Ainchea (Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle: 40/1)

Just wasn't ready to run last year, so we ended up roughing him off in March.

We ran him in a bumper first time out this season and he almost won. He then won at Sandown. I think he's a gorgeous horse and he's progressing.

With everything about him he shouldn't really be doing what he's doing. He'll probably go in the two-miler (Sky Bet Supreme) or the two and a half (Ballymore) as he's not slow.

We might try and keep the novices apart a bit and I think he could be a bit of a surprise package. What he doesn't do is stop and you do need a stayer for the Supreme.

Kilbricken Storm (Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle: 16/1)

I went to tale this one at the sales and he was a bit of a mess, his tale was all rubbed away as he had a bandage on too tight and his hair dropped out.

On a good day he's good enough to run well in the three-miler. He'd have a chance as he's a thorough stayer. We backed off him after Newbury as he bit of a dirty nose but he's been fine for weeks so and he'll be okay.

White Moon (Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle: 20/1)

He's one of our lovely young horses, he had a little setback but he's been back in training three weeks or so. He won his first two but came back lame behind when he got beat at Sandown. He had a month off and is fine now, schooled well this morning.

He's a big staying chaser for the future. I think he's more of a three-miler already myself, and I think that's more likely at this stage (also entered in the Ballymore). Maybe it'll depend on how many Samcro frighten away, if there's only seven runners there then we might go for that.

When you see him schooling you think 'goodness me, I can't wait to see him novice chasing next season'. He's a big heavy horse.

We'll probably take five or six who have missed some time this season, like him, over to Wincanton for a gallop. Just to go through the motions and have an away day.

Sizing Tennesse (RSA Chase: 20/1; National Hunt Chase: 16/1)

He's entered in both. He might well run in either. That's why they're left in two races, so we don't have to decide which race we're going for three weeks before the Festival.

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