2019/20 National Hunt horses to follow – Five to follow from Colin Tizzard’s yard
Our expert takes a look through Colin Tizzard’s stable and highlights five horses worth tracking during the 2019/20 National Hunt season.
Colin Tizzard’s stable lost two of their top jumpers at the end of last season. The first of those was an intended departure, as flag-bearer and fan’s favourite, Cue Card was retired. The second was unexpected, and a huge blow to his team, as Finian’s Oscar passed away after a particularly nasty bout of equine colic.
Tizzard went on to enjoy a consistent, yet unspectacular campaign. Native River couldn’t hang on to feature in the finish as he attempted to defend his Gold Cup crown, but Tizzard did manage to taste some success at the major meetings, with Elixir De Nutz, Sizing Tennessee and Reserve Tank amongst his many high-profile winners.
Lostintranslation ended last season with a fantastic victory in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree and will fly the flag for Colin Tizzard this season, as the Dorset trainer targets a second Gold Cup win. We’ve taken a look through Tizzard’s ranks ahead of the new National Hunt season and highlighted five horses who could make the headlines alongside Lostintranslation during 2019/20.
Colin Tizzard Horses To Follow
Faustinovick featured on my list of tracker horses last season, after catching the eye in a point-to-point over in Ireland. Derek O’Connor’s mount came through from the rear of the field to place second behind the impressive Andy Dufrense. A move to Gordon Elliott followed for the winner, while Faustinovick made the switch from Ellmarie Holden’s yard over to Dorset.
Tizzard could only get this son of Black Sam Bellamy out on the track once last season, running in a bumper at Chepstow in March. Faustinovick ran into an exceptional sort in McFabulous that day, but under a watchful ride by Robbie Power, Tizzard’s debutante made smooth progress through the race and was steadily gaining on the winner as the two crossed the line.
Faustinovick is a wonderful specimen and bred to reach a very high level over obstacles. I can’t wait to see him jump a hurdle when he returns to action and he could turn out to be a horse for either the Ballymore, or the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham.
Vision Des Flos
Colin Tizzard’s charge may have only won two of his 15 career outings to date, but he’s shown flashes of Grade One quality on numerous occasions. A wind operation helped last winter, as Vision Des Flos followed good placed efforts in the Contenders Hurdle and the Kingwell with an excellent victory at Fontwell, where Tom Scudamore’s mount defeated future Liverpool Hurdle winner, If The Cap Fits in the National Spirit Hurdle.
Vision Des Flos then found himself swamped under top-weight in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. Tizzard decided to push Vision Des Flos up to three miles for the first time on his final start in the Champion Stayers’ at Punchestown and his charge was still in there pitching at the business end of things, right up until a crashing error at the second-last, after which Robbie Power’s mount faded rapidly.
Being by Balko, it’s only a matter of time before Vision Des Flos is pointed at a fence and there’s every chance he will build on the rating of 153 he achieved as a hurdler. Vision Des Flos boasts tremendous experience for a horse of his age and that will stand him in excellent stead as he embarks on a new career as a novice chaser.
Along with Road To Respect, Elegant Escape is my favourite horse in training. I fell in love with Colin Tizzards charge the first time I saw him jump a fence as a fresh-faced five-year-old and he only adhered himself to me as he progressed as a novice, displaying plenty of heart, tenacity and a whole heap of talent.
It was always going to be tricky for Colin Tizzard’s six-year-old outside novice company last season – tackling top-quality, experienced chasers at such a tender age. Yet, Elegant Escape acquitted himself extremely well throughout his second campaign over fences, following in the footsteps of stablemate Native River by winning the Welsh Grand National.
On his first crack at the big one, Elegant Escape finished a creditable sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Another sixth-place finish followed behind Kemboy at Aintree, where the ground wasn’t nearly soft enough for his liking.
Elegant Escape clearly relishes the more attritional tests in National Hunt racing. He’s already proven himself to be a staying chaser of the highest calibre and he’s yet to reach what should be the prime of his career. I’m not sure what road Colin Tizzard will take Elegant Escape down this season, but I would be shocked if the Grand National wasn’t at the forefront of his thoughts.
Colin Tizzard was a busy man during the sales events during the backend of last season, as he attempted to bolster his squad of novice hurdlers for next season. Tizzard, and his team of owners, splashed out a considerable amount of cash in buying some talented point-to-pointers and these are the two most exciting additions Tizzard has made to his team.
The Big Breakaway
At the same Aintree sale where the team purchased Elegant Escape in 2016, Ross Doyle signed a cheque for over £340k to bring The Big Breakaway to Dorset. Closely related to top jumpers Rathvinden and Kildisart, Tizzard will have high hopes for this son of Getaway, having watched his new recruit romp to a ten length victory on his only start between the flags.
Another expensive purchase set to appear for Tizzard this term is Fiddlerontheroof, having made the move to Dorset after winning a flat race at Navan for Irish trainer John Walsh. Second that day was The Big Getaway, who will be amongst Willie Mullins’ top novice hurdlers this term, so the £200k connections splashed out on Fiddlerontheroof could prove to be quite a bargain!