Colin Tizzard Stable Tour: All the insight from Venn Farm

Joe Tizzard (assistant trainer) standing with Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Lostintranslation.
Joe Tizzard (assistant trainer) standing with Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Lostintranslation.

We pick out some of the most informative quotes about Colin Tizzard's media day, where his son and assistant trainer Joe talks about a host of leading Cheltenham Festival contenders including Lostintranslation, Fiddlerontheroof, The Big Breakway and Copperhead...

On Lostintranslation, who won the Betfair Chase earlier in the season to propel into the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture...

"The season was going perfectly after Haydock but the wheels fell off a bit at Kempton. I can't say that we actually found a specific reason for it, but we have tweaked his wind and he has had a soft-palate operation since. I think perhaps he had a harder race at Haydock than we thought - it was only three and a bit weeks before Kempton and perhaps it left its toll on him a little bit. 

"He had his wind tweaked the following week after Kempton and hasn't missed a beat since. He has been in full training - he went away for a gallop the week before last and had a good blow, which has put him spot on. We are really happy with where he is.

"I still think he is a very good horse. He has cracking form at Cheltenham - he won the Dipper and finished second in the JLT. He bounces off that nice ground as well and you can see him travelling really well in a Gold Cup. There is always the question mark of the extra couple of furlongs up the hill that takes some getting but, if we got some genuine good to soft ground, I think he could travel into it and be bang there at the last."

On Tolworth winner Fiddlerontheroof, who is a fancied challenger in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle...

"Fiddlerontheroof has been in outstanding form this season and he has been kept fresh for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle ever since. I don't mind if the ground is testing for him. A bit of rain this week will suit him as he handles soft ground really well. He will definitely want a bit of cut, he is a big, strong boy who can handle the softer ground. He is just a lovely, big horse.

"I am looking forward to Fiddlerontheroof. It's the first race of the week - we didn't have a winner last year but the year before we had to wait until the Friday and it becomes a long week. I wouldn't mind getting one on the board early doors and I think the ground is right for him this year. He has been saved for this since the beginning of January and he has got some strong form."

On expensive purchase The Big Breakaway, who will be a lively adversary to red-hot Ballymore Novices' Hurdle favourite Envoi Allen...

"The Big Breakaway is a gorgeous horse. He is going to run in the Ballymore. He is the only horse in our yard who hasn't been clipped this year - he has had that coat all year round. We bought him at Punchestown and he was a stand-out. He cost a lot of money, but he has done nothing wrong at all.

"He was going to go to Festival Trials Day, but he was fighting with a horse next door when he got fed and he kicked the side of the stable. His hock swelled up and he had a tiny infection for three days, so he has been kept fresh since. He had a gallop at Larkhill last week. It is a big ask for a horse on his third start under Rules to go and win at Cheltenham. Obviously, there is also Envoi Allen in there, but he is a very talented horse with a lot of ability and will have an exciting future. This horse has just looked a bit special this year and he could well be."

On Copperhead, who is bound for a crack at the RSA Chase...

"Copperhead has a rating of 155. He won the Reynoldstown last time. He has been so progressive it's unheard of to be honest. He needed his first run and then he won handicaps at Kempton and Newbury. The first time we stepped him up to a Graded race at Ascot he improved again. His progression has been unbelievable really. 

"He jumps, he stays and he is just very relaxed. We've had a lot of conversations as to what race we will run in. Dad and I are leaning towards the RSA Chase as are the owners. He has got the pace to handle that race and if he takes another step forward, he would have to have an almighty chance in it. He is not completely finished, another summer on his back, he is growing to be a serious horse next season and he is really exciting. 

"He has got to improve again, but we're looking forward to him. 18 months ago, he was very backward and awkward. This year he came in a different horse. I don't know where is going to end up, but he has just improved with every run and is very straightforward."

On Slate House and Reserve Tank, who both have smart novice chase form in the book...

"Slate House is the highest-rated novice in the country off 156. The decision has not been definitely made as to where we end up at Cheltenham. He has entries in both the RSA Chase and the Marsh. He has form over two and a half at Cheltenham, but has also won the Kauto Star at Kempton over three miles. We will see what the ground does. If it dries up he might go for the RSA and the Marsh if the ground is slower.

"Reserve Tank heads for the Marsh Novices' Chase. He is a very talented horse and may have been forgotten about it for the Cheltenham Festival. He was fresh at Chepstow on his first start this season. He then won the Rising Stars at Wincanton and just wasn't quite right at Newbury last time out. He just doesn't quite handle winter ground, nor the cold to be honest with you. He doesn't work well at home in those times, but he does come right in the spring.

"He will definitely run in the Marsh, he will be a fresh horse and we'll try to do Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown."

On Albert Bartlett hopes Lieutenant Rocco and Harry Senior...

"Harry Senior won a G2 last time at Cheltenham and has got some very strong form. He got beat a length and a half by Sporting John first time out and we were a bit disappointed with that, but it has actually turned out to be very strong form. 

"He is a horse who has been improving in himself all year and both he and Lieutenant Rocco are going to run in the Albert Bartlett. There wouldn't be masses between them - there is not a lot between them on ratings and we wouldn't have a lot between them. They are both very straightforward.

"Lieutenant Rocco has won two novice hurdles but couldn't have been more impressive either time. He bolted up in probably not that strong a race at Chepstow but he beat a 132 horse [Stick With Bill] at Warwick with a penalty and did it very nicely. He is a big, strong, scopey horse and will make a lovely horse when he jumps a fence next year.

"They both need to improve to win at The Festival but they are both on the upgrade and could end up to be nice horses. We haven't had the chat with Robbie to decide which way he is going to go but he did give Lieutenant Rocco a squeeze after the last to see what was left in the tank, so he was having a bit of a feeler to see if he was on the right one."

On recent Kempton winner Mister Malarky, who is well fancied for the Ultima Handicap Chase...

"He did it really nicely at Kempton. He is in good form and it's great to see him come back to form. It just wasn't happening for him in the first half of the season, but he has turned a corner now and we are very happy with him.

"He went up 4 lb for winning at Kempton, so he is near the top of the handicap in the Ultima. He should be competitive off that and hopefully there is more to come. He just came right at the turn of the year. He's got good Cheltenham form, was fourth in the RSA last year and he has come out of Kempton really well. It is one of the most competitive races of the week, but he deserves to take his chance in it - he will grow into be a Grand National type next year."

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On former Albert Bartlett winner Kilbricken Storm, who lines up in the Pertemps Final...

"He has dropped to a mark of 140 and we had to go up to Haydock to get him qualified because we lost a couple of meetings due to the weather. He is an Albert Bartlett winner and has been competitive this season, so he would have a live each-way chance.

"He lost his form last season and had a pelvis injury, so it didn't quite happen for him, but he has run himself back into form this year. He needs to run a season's best but hopefully that will come. He likes it around Cheltenham - the owners were keen to run him in Cleeve on Trials Day and he still ran a solid race. I think Harry [Cobden] can ride him and he gets on very well with the horse."

On County Hurdle hope Eldorado Allen...

"He probably didn't run his best race at Sandown last time - his first run back was a really strong run, when he just got tired coming back for some time. We thought that we would have a crack at the Contenders Hurdle, but he didn't run his best race - he travelled into and then didn't really see it out. He is off a workable mark and I think a fast-run two miles will suit. We are just concerned that Terry Warner [owner] is in Tenerife at the moment and might not make it back!"

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