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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Power back on Fox Norton in Tingle Creek as Tizzard reveals Cooper fitness doubt

Bryan Cooper and Fox Norton land last month's Shloer Chase at Cheltenham
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Robbie Power is back on board Saturday's Tingle Creek Chase favourite Fox Norton after Bryan Cooper failed to satisfy Colin Tizzard that he was fit to do the horse justice.

Cooper was recently appointed the number-one rider to Fox Norton's owners, the late Ann and Alan Potts, in Britain, while Power, who did so well on the couple's horses last season, is number one in Ireland.

Tizzard needed convincing over the new arrangement, although Cooper appeared to win his confidence with a win on Fox Norton in Cheltenham's Shloer Chase and two more aboard star novice Finian's Oscar.

However, Cooper then took a knock when unseated from the stable's Sizing Tennessee at the second fence at Ascot on November 25 and has not ridden since, a situation that worries the trainer with so much at stake at Sandown.

Explaining why Power has replaced Cooper, who appeared on the Sandown card at the 48-hour declaration stage, Tizzard said: "Bryan hasn't ridden for nearly a fortnight and it's a very big race.

"I said to him at the beginning of the week that he needed to be riding somewhere and it hasn't happened, and I just thought that to do the horse justice this time we should put Robbie Power back on."

'Shoulder still not 100 per cent'

Speaking on Thursday evening, Cooper said: "My shoulder is still not right. I've ridden out and it's still not 100 per cent. I don't know how long more it is going to take, we'll just have to see."

Power won Grade 1 chases at Aintree and Punchestown on Fox Norton in a golden spell riding Tizzard's Potts-owned runners in the spring. They are the only occasions he has ridden the classy seven-year-old.

Tizzard said: "Bryan remains number one in England but I spoke to the powers that be in Ireland [representatives of Fox Norton's late owners] and they left Saturday's arrangements to me.

"I thought it was a big question to ask and one that we don't need. It's a big day for all of us and Fox Norton is odds-on now, so that tells you what chance he has. If Bryan had been riding this week it would be different, but he hasn't and we just felt for all concerned that this was the way to go."

Tingle Creek card

If you are interested in this, you might also like to read:

'I want to be riding in all the big races, that's all I've ever known'

Cooper winning over doubters after stunning Fox Norton victory

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If Bryan had been riding this week it would be different, but he hasn't and we just felt for all concerned that this was the way to go
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