Joe Tizzard happy with plans to take over licence at end of the season

Joe Tizzard revealed that he will likely take over the family-run training operation from father Colin at the end of the jumps season in April.

There has been much speculation as to when the former jockey will assume the licence at the Spurles Farm yard in Dorset, but after Elixir De Nutz gave the Tizzards a welcome winner at Plumpton on Sunday, he confirmed the likely date.

“Probably, I won’t take over the licence until the turn of the season,” said the assistant trainer.

“Then it will go into my name. It is not something we need to rush into, because it doesn’t affect our businesses at all. But that is what we are thinking.”

Elixir De Nutz ended a relatively barren spell for the yard in the Follow @attheraces On Twitter Novices’ Chase, fending off Nassalam in a thrilling finish to the extended two-mile-three-furlong contest, the last of the track’s win-and-you’re-in Bonus Series of races for the Cheltenham Festival.

After a protracted dual, which began at the top of the hill and ended in two tired horses three-quarters of a length apart in the very soft ground, Tizzard admitted his “relief”.

He said: “It was a welcome winner. It has been a few weeks. I was worried, but was fairly confident we are now coming through it. We just needed a winner. They have not been sparking for the last two or three weeks, but we have done a load of scoping and a load of bloods and flu-jabbed them and are confident we will be away again now.

“If he had been beaten or stuffed out of sight I would have been worried, so it is a relief.”

Elixir De Nutz (4-1) was having just his sixth start since taking the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in 2019 and Tizzard is keen to make up for lost time.

“It is just nice and the horse deserves it as well as has been very fragile since he won the Tolworth Hurdle,” said Tizzard.

“He was unlucky last time and probably Jamie (Moore, aboard Nassalam) was taking him on down the back and it turned into a slog.

“I think they got racing at the top of the hill and then it was hard work out there. It was a tough old race. I’m chuffed to bits with him.”

He added: “He has had leg problems. That is why we haven’t seen him much – he did a suspensory a couple of times – but he is not an old horse now. Hopefully the wheels are back on him and we can keep going with him.

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“This was a bonus race for Cheltenham, so we will try to get a run into him between now and then and then maybe look at a handicap with him. Perhaps drop back to two miles as well.

“He was at the end of his tether today and he was at Exeter as well, so a fast-run Grand Annual or something like that might suit him. We will see. Terry (Warner) will be keen to have a go at Cheltenham, anyway.”

Of 4-5 favourite Nassalam, trainer Gary Moore said: “I am very disappointed with him. The plan is for him to see a vet. He will have a break, but he kept jumping left.”

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