InterviewJoe Tizzard

'I felt a lot of pressure when I took over - there was a lot going on, a lot on my shoulders'

Peter Thomas talks to Joe Tizzard about life as a son, a father and a Cheltenham-bound trainer with some big chances 

Peter ThomasSenior features writer
Joe Tizzard on his gallops at Venn Farm near Sherborne 31.1.24 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Joe Tizzard watches the sun come up over the gallops at Spurles FarmCredit: Edward Whitaker (

Joe Tizzard clambers down from the roof of his 4x4 like a wellington-booted, West Country Bear Grylls. "Don't let anybody tell you being a trainer is easy," he puffs, hopping off the bonnet, leaving a trail of muddy footprints across the bodywork.

Technically, this has had little to do with training – he's been untangling a tree swing that had become lodged in the lower branches, for the benefit of his young son Tommy – but I'm so full of admiration for his fatherly devotion that I can't bring myself to point it out.

Anyway, I've already watched him harrowing the gallops at 7am – or rather I've already watched the headlights of the tractor from a distance while sipping a cup of coffee in the yard – so I know he's very much hands-on at Spurles Stables and not one to shirk a job that needs doing.

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Published on 10 February 2024inThe Big Read

Last updated 18:00, 10 February 2024