Colin Tizzard has made little secret of his admiration for Alary
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By James Burn 7:14AM 17 JAN 2017
THE man who knows Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup dark horse Alary better than anybody has labelled the seven-year-old “out of the ordinary” as team Tizzard prepare to take the wraps off the horse in Saturday’s Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock.
Regis Schmidlin has ridden Alary in 16 of his 20 starts and will be a fascinated observer when he makes his debut for Colin Tizzard.
Now carrying the colours of Ann and Alan Potts, Alary has won just twice in his career but was last year placed in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris and Prix la Haye Jousselin – two of France’s top jump races – and this weekend gets the chance to show just why new connections have not hidden their admiration for him.
In Thistlecrack (4-5), Native River (5-1) and Cue Card (14-1), Tizzard appears to have the key to the Gold Cup, and Alary, whom he described this month as “bloody good”, has fast become the race’s talking horse.
Available at around 33-1 until recently, the son of Dream Well is as short as 16-1 now, although Betfair, William Hill and BoyleSports offer 25-1.
‘The longer the better’
Schmidlin, who partnered Alary to his two victories, stopped short of saying he would win a Gold Cup but, like Tizzard, has nothing but enthusiasm for the chestnut.
“He’s capable of going on any ground and loves a good trip – the longer the better,” said the jockey, whose biggest win came on the prolific Questarabad in the 2009 Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil, a race often referred to as the French Champion Hurdle.
“Alary is a very smart jumper and even though the fences in England are not the same as in France I think Mr Tizzard will have given him enough time to adapt to the fences.
“I don’t have enough experience in England to say if he’s capable of winning the Gold Cup, but I know he’s out of the ordinary and very good at what he does – if Mr Tizzard doesn’t have a jockey for him I can come over no problem!”