Colin Tizzard: “The phone call came out of the blue”
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Storey 8:49AM 26 SEP 2016
IN CUE CARD and Thistlecrack he has two of the most exciting horses around – and now Colin Tizzard’s firepower is set to grow even greater with 15 horses from Alan and Ann Potts coming to his yard.
The leading owners have moved all their horses trained by Colm Murphy, who has announced his retirement, to Tizzard. The first dozen, including Grade 1-winning chaser Sizing Granite, arrived on Sunday morning.
“The phone call came out of the blue at Friday dinnertime and it was one of the best I’ve ever had in racing,” said Tizzard, who has not had a runner in the Potts colours before. “Alan said Colm was retiring and would I like to train them? Obviously I said yes.
“They’re lovely looking horses and hopefully we’ll have some fun with Alan and Ann. We’ve shuffled a few around and got them into the yard, where we’ve now got 85.
“I’ve met Alan and Ann a few times. At Cheltenham in March we sat talking about horses in the owners’ and trainers’ marquee. To have the patronage of another big owner is fantastic.”
Last season was the most glorious in Tizzard’s career as he topped £1.4 million in prize-money and won seven Grade 1s, and he hopes the new association will keep the curve upward.
He said: “We’ve got to thank the likes of Cue Card, Thistlecrack and Native River for making us more high-profile. It’s lovely. When the first 12 horses came off the lorry at 6.30am today I thought, ‘This is fantastic’.
“We’d love to be at the top table all the time and hopefully this will make us a little bit closer.”
‘I’m just getting to know them’
Sizing Granite won four of his first five starts over fences, clinching the Maghull Novices’ Chase last year when trained by Henry de Bromhead. Others to arrive include Bally Longford, a chase winner at last year’s Galway festival, Viconte Du Noyer, third in the Red Rum Chase at Aintree in April, chasers Sizing Codelco and Sizing Platinum, and hurdlers Sizing Tennessee and Sizing Brisbane.
Several of the new arrivals were with De Bromhead last season but were transferred to Murphy after the owners severed links, ending a relationship in which the Champion Chase success of Sizing Europe was the highlight.
Sizing Granite: Grade 1-winning chaser arrived at yard on Sunday morning
PICTURE: Getty Images
Tizzard said: “I’m just getting to know them and I’ll be speaking to Colm Murphy. Sizing Granite is obviously a decent horse. There are four three-year-olds among them who have been bought at the sales. Three more are coming this week.”
Plans for established stars
Thistlecrack, winner of three of those 2015-16 Grade 1s, will school over fences next week, although his chasing debut, planned for Chepstow on October 8, may be delayed.
Tizzard said: “We’ll need a lot of rain. He won’t be going there on good ground. He’s a big, heavy horse and we’ve got to mind him.”
On Aintree winner Native River, he said: “I think we’ll go straight to the Hennessy with him off a mark of 154. He’ll have a good chance.”
Cue Card is set to return in the Charlie Hall Chase on October 29 and Tizzard said the ten-year-old had lost none of his zip.
He said: “He’s doing faster work and was out on the gallops like a three-year-old yesterday, he’s that enthusiastic.”