Colin Tizzard is hopeful that nothing is seriously wrong with his string, despite a number of disappointing efforts from his runners in recent weeks. The Dorset trainer said nothing problematic had yet come to light as he gave an upbeat assessment of Lostintranslation’s wellbeing ahead of the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
“He seems to be in real good form,” Tizzard said. “He worked on Saturday, the first time we gave him a proper bit of work [since the Betfair Chase]. He’s done all his core exercises and I was really pleased with him.
“He worked with quite a nice one and came away from him quite easily. He looks well in his coat. Everything seems fine.”
Beaten just a length and a half in the Gold Cup in March, Lostintranslation was favourite for the Betfair three weeks ago but was in trouble a long way out and was eventually beaten by 47 lengths. His odds for the King George almost doubled as a result and he is now 9-1 for the Christmas feature.
“Hopefully all it was, was that Haydock ground,” Tizzard said in reference to the testing ground that prevailed on Merseyside that day. Indeed, he believes that ground is the reason for a few recent disappointments.
“We’ve had a few not running so well and a few running better than expectations. I think it’s the ground that finds them out. It’s very sticky at the moment.”
Ofalltheginjoints and L’Air Du Vent are among recent Tizzard runners who were fancied but finished weakly to be well beaten, and lack of fitness could not be blamed as both had won in November. “We trotted up Ofalltheginjoints this morning and he trotted up beautifully but he raced on Saturday with his head stuck out as though something wasn’t right. It was deep old ground and sticky,” Tizzard said.
“We’ll have to see. Obviously, we’re looking at it but we’ll keep our heads down like we always do, and do a few tests and see if there’s anything coming to light. But nothing as yet.
“Those two were disappointing but it was their first time on sticky ground. I’m sure they’re fine. They’ll be all right again.”
Tizzard was cheered by a good effort from Native River at Aintree last week and the horse will now skip the Welsh National in favour of a Gold Cup campaign. “He showed enough that he’s still a Gold Cup contender. He’ll go to Trials Day at Cheltenham next month.”
Monday’s best bets
The James Moffat / Charlotte Jones team is one of the more interesting trainer/jockey combinations this jumps season, operating at a useful 18% strike-rate. They have an obvious chance at Ayr with Turtle Wars (1.45), a 5-2 shot in a handicap hurdle.
The winner of a Huntingdon maiden hurdle in his days with Nicky Henderson, Turtle Wars was badly handicapped at first but has come down to a workable mark. He travelled like the winner on his reappearance at Hexham but got tired after the last. The runner-up won easily next time and this is a step down in class.
In the opening maiden hurdle, a case can be made for Deep Charm (12.05) who showed a lot of promise when finishing strongly in his debut, a bumper. Hurdles ought to show him in a better light and he’s fairly priced at 7-1 to beat Wetlands, who showed little improvement in his second hurdles start.
At Plumpton, Gentleman’s Dream (2.58) appeals at 100-30 after an encouraging chasing debut at Hereford, his first start for three years. At Kempton tonight, Egotistic (8.10) returns from a three-month absence with her stable in fine form and the handicapper has given her a chance, so the 14-1 shot is worth a second look.