Colin Tizzard to hand over training licence to son Joe later this year

Colin Tizzard at Wincanton on Thursday
Colin Tizzard at Wincanton on ThursdayCredit: Edward Whitaker

Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Colin Tizzard on Thursday all but confirmed this season would be his last with a licence, which will be transferred to his son and assistant Joe when he completes his training modules.

The Dorset-based Tizzard, who won the Gold Cup with Native River in 2018, expects that to happen by the autumn, when Joe will formally assume control at their successful yard.

One thought had been for Joe to become a joint-trainer, but Tizzard said: "I don't fancy Colin and Joe. I'm 65 and it won't change anything. I'll still argue with him every morning.

"He deserves a go and you don't want to leave it too late in life. He's been doing a bloody good job."

Former dairy farmer Tizzard began operating with a full licence in 1998 with son Joe in the saddle, but their stable hit the big time when Cue Card arrived, capturing the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in 2010 before eight more top-level triumphs, which included the King George VI Chase in 2015.

Cue Card: took Colin Tizzard's yard to another level
Cue Card: took Colin Tizzard's yard to another levelCredit: Patrick McCann

Thistlecrack, arguably the most talented horse Tizzard has trained, also won that race in 2016 as the stable grew in profile, becoming a major force in jump racing.

Joe retired from riding at the age of 34 in 2014 and has emerged as a public face of the partnership, particularly this season following the sad death of his sister Kim, who had been a huge part of the engine room in Milborne Port, from cancer last year.

Tizzard, who has endured a trying campaign with his string producing some below-par efforts, insisted that had not played a part in his decision.

Speaking from Wincanton, he added: "It was always going to be when I was 65. There are other things I wouldn't mind doing and I don't want to wake up every morning worrying about horses all the time.

"I might want to take my wife Pauline away to New Zealand and places like that, which we've never done - we've been looking after horses for the past 25 years!

"It'll change as soon as Joe has done his modules. He should have done them in the summer, but there's nothing to sort out; it's just changing my name for his, so things won't change one iota.

"Joe's been doing more and more and I'm there with him - on the gallops every morning for two hours - but he deserves his name at the top. Me and Pauline can go travelling; training isn't an easy game as you have to deal with expectations and disappointments."

The Big Breakaway: Tizzard is sweet on the gelding
The Big Breakaway: Tizzard is sweet on the geldingCredit: Edward Whitaker

Tizzard, before reaching for the pipe and slippers, will bid to add to his seven winners at the festival next week when he fields Native River and Lostintranslation in the Gold Cup, which this year supports the charity WellChild.

However, The Big Breakaway is - in his words - his best chance at Cheltenham.

He runs in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase and Tizzard said: "He's good right now and nothing can stay with him on the gallops - nothing.

"He's a good horse and is in beautiful form at the moment. With a clear round, he's going to be thereabouts."

Of his Gold Cup pair, the leading trainer went on: "Native River goes through the mud like nothing else. He is 11 and we understand that, but he has had a brilliant prep. He went to Aintree and went to the Cotswold. He is in lovely form. We are chuffed as hell that he is the top-rated chaser in Britain.

"The handicappers don't give a horse that rating just to be nice - that is what he is. If he is in the form he is this week Richard Johnson will be putting it down to them.

"Lostintranslation has come in his coat and he was good on the gallops this morning. He has got to be tested in the hottest race of the year and he might not be good enough but we have had a better run-up this season than we had last season when he was third in the Gold Cup."

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Lambourn correspondent

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