Colin Tizzard: has he just been getting it wrong with Leg Lock Luke?
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Ashforth 6:00PM 28 NOV 2016
CUE CARD, Native River, Thistlecrack, Leg Lock Luke, all members of Colin Tizzard’s high-flying stable. Some (Cue Card, Native River, Thistlecrack) are flying higher than others (Leg Lock Luke).
Fair play, as people say, to Tizzard and owner Terry Warner, who have stuck with Leg Lock Luke through thin. On Tuesday (Lingfield 2.10) they give Leg Lock Luke another chance to show that he isn’t hopeless and that Warner wasn’t mad when he paid £100,000 for him a year ago.
That was after Leg Lock Luke had won a point-to-point in Ireland (isn’t it always?) and before he discovered his vocation in England, which was to be a bitter disappointment. He’s brilliant at it. In five appearances, the six-year-old has failed to get within 30 lengths of the winner. Favourite on his last two runs, Leg Lock Luke was beaten 45 lengths and then pulled up. He may not be favourite today, despite slipping to a mark of 93.
There are several possible explanations. It may be that Tizzard doesn’t know what he’s doing and has made a complete balls-up of it, acquiring a horse with limitless potential then ruining a future champion. Leg Lock Luke may be a very special horse, requiring very special treatment. He might be a carnivore, for instance, yet has been fed oats.
Perhaps the jockeys have been to blame. Paddy Brennan, hopeless; Harry Cobden, disastrous; Tom O’Brien, woeful. How is Leg Lock Luke expected to win if he’s getting no help from the saddle?
There is, I hesitate to say, another explanation. It may be that when Eugene O’Sullivan sold Leg Lock Luke he immediately repaired to the nearest bar and shouted, “Drinks all round, lads! Cream buns too!” Instead of being worth £100,000 it turns out that Leg Lock Luke is worth something similar but without the noughts.
I wonder if his namesake, Luke Harvey, will be there to see him… do what? Probably finish a respectful distance behind Jaunty Inflight, having his second run since Dr Richard Newland bought the seven-year-old for £12,000. Newland will doubtless do what he does and improve Jaunty Inflight to enable him to do what he hasn’t done yet and win a chase.
Tizzard won’t have long to shake his head after Leg Lock Luke’s race before approaching the next one (2.40) with the confidence born of Third Act having been Jaunty Inflight’s recent conqueror at Exeter.
After that (3.10) there’s a race run to celebrate Jenson Roe’s third birthday. I’ve no idea who he is – perhaps the son of a racing driver or fishmonger – but there was a race run in honour of his second birthday last year and of his first birthday the year before. Maybe there’ll be a race to celebrate Jenson Roe’s 100thbirthday, if there are still horses.
After that (3.40) Jason Nuttall has been awarded the chance to persuade Reblis that, even aged 11, it’s not too late to stop finishing second and third, as Reblis has in his last seven races, and win another one. Good luck.