Jubilant Tizzard determined to build on unforgettable season
Colin Tizzard says there will be no taking his foot off the throttle as he seeks to turn this season's breakthough campaign into an even more glittering 2017-18 with a crack at the trainers' title.
In a season marked by eight Grade 1 wins, Tizzard stands on the threshold of earning £2 million in prize-money for the first time after an Aintree haul that featured three top-level wins.
Tizzard, 61, pointed out the bug in the yard affected the form of his horses around Cheltenham, and with a clutch of exciting youngsters is looking to cement his place at the top table of trainers occupied by Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls, the only two trainers who have won more money this season.
Victories for Fox Norton, Finian’s Oscar and Pingshou at Aintree mean Tizzard has now had more Grade 1 successes than any other British trainer this season. He said: “It doesn’t get a lot better than last week.
“The main thing for us all will be maintaining the stable’s ascendancy into next season. It’s important and we'll be doing everything we can to better what we achieved this season – I think I’m good for a few more years yet.
“We're not far short of getting £2m in prize-money and 60 winners on the board and that's a good season whichever way you look at it, as we'll finish third in the table and we'd all be very happy with that.”
Tizzard stressed there will be no end-of-term glut of runners. He said: “If the rain doesn't come we won't have that many entries as there is no need to run the horses on firm ground for the sake of it.
“As things stand we have no chance of getting anywhere near Nicky Henderson who has already won the championship and I'll certainly not be going out of my way to try to grab second spot off Paul Nicholls, that’s for sure.
“But we have some lovely young horses coming through and it'd be very nice to think we could be giving things like the title a little go at some stage as we did not get a clear run at a crucial point in the new year.”
He added: “It’s no secret we had a bit of a bug in the stable after Christmas - every yard gets a few snotty noses but it probably didn't help our chances at Cheltenham. However, saying that, we nearly won the Champion Chase with Fox Norton and Native River ran a cracking third in the Gold Cup.”
Looking ahead to the last three weeks of the season, Tizzard may run Aintree winners Fox Norton, Finian's Oscar and Pingshou at Sandown or the Punchestown festival at the end of the month.
He said: “Fox Norton has come out of his race in good style and cantered this morning. He has three options as he could drop back to two miles for the Celebration Chase on the final day at Sandown, go to Punchestown or be turned out in the field.
“Finian’s Oscar and Pingshou could go to Punchestown but there are no really firm plans for any of them as we'll do the best by each horse. It will be a case of getting through the week and seeing how everything develops with all of them.”