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Wetherby plans for The Big Breakaway

The Big Breakaway will continue his preparations for a return to the Cheltenham Festival in the William Hill Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby.

Connections of the Colin Tizzard-trained six-year-old, who finished fourth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival, have earmarked the three-mile Grade Two contest on February 6 as his next target.

After making a winning debut over fences at Cheltenham, The Big Breakaway suffered an odds-on defeat at Exeter, before filling the runner-up spot in the Grade One Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard said: “The plan at the moment is to take The Big Breakaway to Wetherby next month for the Towton.

“He has only had three runs over fences and this is a Grade Two which is quite good timing-wise before the Festival.

“We can’t drop him back and do what we did at Exeter as we have got to take him to a decent enough race where he will get a tow along.”

Reserve Tank could make his return to action back over hurdles (Nigel French/PA)
Reserve Tank could make his return to action back over hurdles (Nigel French/PA)

Dual Grade One winner Reserve Tank, who has not been sighted since pulling up in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Festival in March, could revert back to hurdles on his return from injury.

Tizzard said: “He got a leg injury after Cheltenham and we are hoping to get a prep run in before going back to the Festival.

“He has been in the whole way through, but he is now in full training. With an injury like he had it just needed time.

“He might run in a Pertemps qualifier at Huntingdon in the middle of February, but we will just see where we are with him.”

While a second outing at the Festival remains on the agenda for Reserve Tank, he could sidestep the meeting if he is not ready in time.

Tizzard added: “We are hopeful of having a nice spring campaign. We have just got to do what is right for the horse as he has had this injury.

“If he doesn’t make Cheltenham we could wait to Aintree, as we know he has good form there.”

Ligament issue delays Reserve Tank return

Reserve Tank will not be seen until the second half of the National Hunt season due to a ligament issue.

Colin Tizzard’s six-year-old has won five of his 10 races under Rules to date, including two Grade Ones over hurdles.

He only managed to win once over fences last term, but still showed a decent level of form before pulling up behind Samcro at the Cheltenham Festival.

Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard said: “He did have a tiny bit of an issue with his suspensory ligament in the back of his knee which he jarred after Cheltenham, so you won’t see him until Christmas time at the earliest.

“He is back in and he has been on the walker since the middle of June. He is cantering now, but it is just a case of taking it slowly with him.

“He is potentially a well-handicapped horse for the second half of his season. Last season didn’t quite go to plan, but he was still a Grade Two winner as he won the Rising Stars at Wincanton.

“He can’t do what he did as a novice hurdler without having a lot of ability.

“Hopefully there will be some really big days in him. We’ve just got to look after him a bit and get him ready for the spring festivals.”