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.”

Denman Chase is Lostintranslation’s new target

Lostintranslation will be eased in class in a bid to get his career back on track as connections earmarked the Denman Chase at Newbury as his next target.

Last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup third is to be aimed at the three-mile Grade Two prize on February 13, after failing to fire in two starts at the highest level this campaign.

The Colin Tizzard-trained eight-year-old pulled up for the second year running in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, having previously finished a distant third in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on his return this season.

Joe Tizzard, son and assistant, said: “Lostintranslation burst a blood vessel in the King George, which was reported. There is normally something underlying when they break a blood vessel, because it puts them under pressure.

“He will have his flu jab now and we will try and get him right for the Denman.

“We want to get another spin into him, and he loves it around Newbury, and the ground at that time of year is usually decent.”

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Lostintranslation, who is a general 25-1 chance for the Gold Cup, has plenty to prove following two below par runs – but Tizzard remains confident he can turn a corner.

He added: “Plenty of horses have bled and then go and run well afterwards.

“He has never done that at home or anything. But horses bleed from time to time, and we have just got to get him back.

“He hasn’t performed the last twice and he needs to bounce back, but it’s certainly possible that he can.”

Joe Tizzard was pleased with how Lostintranslation was travelling until bursting a blood vessel at Kempton (David Davies/PA Images)
Joe Tizzard was pleased with how Lostintranslation was travelling until bursting a blood vessel at Kempton (David Davies/PA Images)

Tizzard thought the dual Grade One winner was going well in the King George until meeting with his setback.

He added: “He was travelling beautifully for the first circuit and he was exactly where he wanted to be.

“With Frodon going slightly left, he was having a beautiful run down the inside. He then suddenly cut out, but that is what a little bleed does. ”

The Big Breakaway will form part of trainer Colin Tizzard's Cheltenham Festival team (Alan Crowhurst/PA Images)
The Big Breakaway will form part of trainer Colin Tizzard’s Cheltenham Festival team (Alan Crowhurst/PA Images)

The plan for the yard’s The Big Breakaway, meanwhile, is to work back from what was known as the RSA at the Festival.

The five-year-old finished second on his return to Grade One company in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton.

Tizzard said: “The Big Breakaway had his flu jab yesterday, and I definitely think he will be going for what was the RSA.

“I think it was hell of a performance at Kempton, and I think he will have learnt more from that run than he would have learnt in his whole life.

“(Winner) Shan Blue was very impressive over that track and trip, but I think Cheltenham will suit us better. He has come out of Kempton well. ”

The Big Breakaway, who suffered an odds-on defeat on his penultimate start at Exeter, is likely to have another run between now and the Festival – but when that will be remains to be decided.

Tizzard added: “We’ve had three runs but we will probably look to give him another run before Cheltenham.

“We would hate to go back to a little race and have what happened at Exeter, so we would need a half decent race.

“He won’t run until the end of January or early February, because that is the last chance before Cheltenham.”

The Big Breakaway meets with Exeter defeat

The Big Breakaway met with a shock defeat in the Download The tote Placepot App Novices’ Chase at Exeter as he had no answer to Bold Plan.

Colin Tizzard’s The Big Breakaway was the prohibitive 2-9 favourite having made a seamless transition to chasing at Cheltenham first time out this season.

Sent to Exeter for more experience before stepping up in class, with the bonus of picking up the best part of £20,000 into the bargain, Robbie Power was having to drive him into several early fences.

Lethargic at times, Sean Bowen was able to stealthily stalk the favourite on Bold Plan – winner of a good prize over hurdles at Haydock just over a year ago – and he always looked likely to have too much pace in the straight.

When The Big Breakaway got in tight to the last, Bold Plan jumped into an advantage and had no trouble in running out a length and a half winner to break a rather lean spell for his trainer Evan Williams.

Betfair eased The Big Breakaway out to 14-1 from 8s for the three-mile novice chase at Cheltenham, while the winner was introduced into the betting for the Marsh Chase at 33-1 by Paddy Power.

Williams – who quickly followed up with a Grade Two strike at Sandown courtesy of the impressive Star Gate – said of the winner: “We were taking on the second horse on our terms really as I don’t think he’s a two-and-a-half-miler.

“Strictly speaking it was a muddle of a race, but our little fella does have a good turn of foot while the second horse is more of a galloper.

“I don’t really see him as a graded horse, but in saying that he did win a very good handicap at Haydock over hurdles.

“I think with our horse he’s very good on his day, but his days are very in and out is what I’ll say. When he’s good, he’s very good.”

Breakaway makes Big impression on chasing debut at Cheltenham

The Big Breakaway put in an almost perfect round of jumping to make a winning debut over fences in the Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

Last seen when finishing fourth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival in March, the Colin Tizzard-trained five-year-old returned to winning ways with an exemplary performance.

Racing in the front pair throughout the extended three-mile prize, the 4-9 favourite always looked in control before taking lengths out of his rivals at the third last.

With The Butcher Said making a costly error when mounting a challenge at the penultimate fence, it left The Big Breakaway only needing to be pushed out from the back of the last to defeat fellow chasing debutant Doc Penfro by 10 lengths.

Joe Tizzard, son and assistant trainer, said: “I’m chuffed to bits with him. He travelled and jumped really well. He was foot perfect, but he has been since day one and, if anything, he jumped too well today. You can’t fault him though, as he did everything we asked him.

“He found it a little bit too easy over that trip. He had a little bit of a think going away from the stands and Robbie (Power, jockey) said he wouldn’t mind dropping him back to two and a half (miles) to sharpen everything up. That’s food for thought.

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“It was a lovely performance to come here and jump like that first time out. He only had three runs last year and won a point-to-point, so it was greenness more than anything (needing to pushed momentarily).”

Assessing future targets, Tizzard earmarked an outing in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton as a possible target for The Big Breakaway, who was cut from 20-1 into 12-1 for the three-mile novices’ chase at the Festival by both Coral and Paddy Power.

He added: “That would seem the obvious target in my mind (Kauto Star). We will have a look at the calendar and think about it. It’s five or six weeks away and it seems to tie in perfectly. He probably wants a couple of runs between now and the Festival to make sure it doesn’t happen too easily.”

Alex Hales celebrated the biggest winner of his career after For Pleasure ground his rivals into submission in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle.

Having almost run out in a Listed race at Kempton on his previous start, the five-year-old was not for stopping out in front in the Grade Two contest.

Although favourite Third Time Lucki appeared to come with a well-timed challenge approaching the last, he could not get past the 14-1 shot, with three and three-quarter lengths separating the pair at the line.

Hales said: “I’ve been training 20 years and this is only my second winner here. We are a small operation and it means an awful lot for everybody.

“We went to Kempton to try to win the Listed novice and he behaved abysmally. To come here with that behind us, you are slightly crossed fingers is that going to happen again, but obviously left handed is the way he goes.

“There is no other way to ride him but let him go out in front. I was impressed he kept up that gallop and still came up the hill. He is not straightforward and Harry (Bannister) has done a brilliant job with him.”

Ramses De Teillee (11-2) demonstrated the best of his battling abilities when getting the better of Yala Enki by a short head in the Grade Three Planteur At Chapel Stud Handicap Chase.

Winning trainer David Pipe, speaking away from the track, said: “He has been a brilliant horse for us and his owners over the last few years, over hurdles and fences. Both the horse and jockey (Tom Scudamore) have been brave today.

“I said to John (White) and Anne (Underhill, owners) he will be hard to place this season and hard to win with, but hopefully we can nick a bit of prize money along the way.
“I was looking at veteran races for him the other day, but I realised he is only eight, however it feels like he has been around for years.

“He may go to the Becher or the Welsh National, it will be those types of races we look at. He is likely to go up in the weights, but I don’t mind as he has won one.”

Former Gold Cup-winning jockey Sam Thomas saddled his first Cheltenham winner as a trainer as Good Risk At All prevailed by a length and a half in the Listed High Sheriff Of Gloucestershire Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

Thomas said of the 13-2 shot: “It’s testament to all the hard work the team is doing at home. It’s things we can only dream of, coming here and winning a Listed bumper like that.

“I nearly didn’t run him as I felt he has got such a turn of foot, but I’m delighted I left him in. Sam (Twiston-Davies) said he will be a lot better on better ground, but we got away with it today.”