King George hope Lostintranslation has got it all insists Tizzard
Lostintranslation faces his biggest test in next week's Ladbrokes King George VI Chase where he will face reigning champion Clan Des Obeaux and the highest-rated chaser in Britain, Cyrname, but connections are confident the talented seven-year-old is ready for the challenge.
He will be joined by his Colin Tizzard-trained stablemate and 2016 winner Thistlecrack, but not last year's third Native River, who will not be supplemented for the race as previously mooted.
The race sponsors cannot split Lostintranslation and Cyrname at the head of the market, with the pair 7-4 joint-favourites. Clan Des Obeaux, trained like Cyrname by Paul Nicholls, is next in the betting at 9-2, with Thistlecrack a 16-1 chance.
Lostintranslation may have 4lb to find on official ratings with his main market rival, but with three wins in his last three starts – including two Grade 1s – he is an exciting young chaser taking giant strides in the right direction.
The Tizzards won the King George with Cue Card in 2015 and Thistlecrack a year later, so they know what it takes to land the Christmas highlight.
Tizzard's son and assistant trainer Joe said: "He's got everything, we're not concerned about having the pace and his jumping is excellent, but we know we're in a big race on Boxing Day as Cyrname's not going to lie down and be beaten easily.
"He improved all through his novice season and he showed he'd improved again at Haydock last time. This is the obvious next step for him. We think he's capable of taking it and he's the only horse involved in the bonus at the moment."
That bonus is for £1 million should he add the King George and Gold Cup to his length-and-a-half Betfair Chase win over race specialist Bristol De Mai.
Tizzard added: "He's a young horse who we've always held in really high regard. He's improving all the time and his latest performance was really good. He hasn't missed a beat since; he's in lovely form and we're really looking forward to running him."
Thistlecrack, who sensationally won the King George as a novice in 2016, adds further strength to the Tizzard challenge.
The 11-year-old has run in the Kempton highlight for the last three years, with his victory over stablemate Cue Card and two-time race winner Silviniaco Conti followed by a fourth to Might Bite in 2017 and a second last year, when he was beaten just a length and a half by Clan Des Obeaux.
More recently the former Stayers' Hurdle winner showed plenty when beaten just a length by Paisley Park on his seasonal reappearance in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month, and Tizzard added: "He is going to Kempton. Tom Scudamore has been in this morning and schooled him over fences.
"He's in good form and he's been first and second in the race, so that's where he's going to go. He ran really well at Newbury the other day and his form in the race is really strong.
"He's not getting any younger but he's in good nick and he schooled lovely this morning, so he deserves to take his chance."
Native River returned in style to win at Aintree on his return earlier this month, and there was speculation the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, who is also in the Coral Welsh Grand National, might be a surprise supplementary entry for the King George, but Tizzard said he would not run over the Christmas period.
Regarding the King George supplementary option, he said: "That's not going to happen; it was just Dad thinking out loud. We'll just run the two – Lostintranslation and Thistlecrack."
Asked if Native River could be seen in the Welsh National, a race he won in 2016 and for which stablemate Elegant Escape is favourite, he added: "No, we won't see him over Christmas. We might run him once more before the Gold Cup. We could go for the Denman or the Cotswold Chase, something like that."
Native River won the Denman Chase in 2018 en route to Gold Cup glory and his season will again revolve around a fourth crack at a race in which he has also finished third to Sizing John in 2017 and fourth behind Al Boum Photo last year.
For the freshest betting advice, based on latest going and market conditions, don't miss the Live Tipster every afternoon. Just click Raceday Live at racingpost.com or the mobile app