One of the most powerful National Hunt yards in the business, Colin Tizzard has another strong arsenal to go to war with this campaign. Based in Dorset, the stable can boast of 79, 77 and 61 winners in the last three seasons respectively.
This could be a really exciting year for Tizzard, with a lovely crop of younger horses and established favourites. Run at Newbury in late November, the Ladbrokes Trophy is a Grade 3 Handicap with a huge pedigree.
Won by the likes of Bobs Worth, Many Clouds, Smad Place and Native River in recent years, class usually comes to the fore over the 3m 1f distance. Tizzard has won two of the last four renewals, and looks to be targeting the contest again.
You can get the low-down on all of Colin Tizzard’s runners for the upcoming campaign in Racing Post’s Stable Tour. It’s available for Racing Post Members’ Club subscribers in full on the website and will prove an invaluable guide for this season.
Tizzard going for the hat-trick
Since the turn of the century, just three trainers have won the Ladbrokes Trophy more than once. Those trainers are Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, and, of course, Colin Tizzard. It’s no surprise that he targets the contest and this year is no different.
Speaking to Racing Post in their stable tour, he said: “The Ladbrokes Trophy is always a big race for us and we’re targeting it with Copperhead. He looks our main one, but Mister Malarky could go well too.”
That’s a statement of intent, and both horses hold entries this weekend. They aren’t guaranteed to run, but with the Ladbrokes Trophy just around the corner, it would be great to see the pair get match practice before the big day.
Stout Copperhead set for big season
An improving novice chaser last term, Copperhead proved himself to be a powerful and gutsy stayer. All three of his wins last term came at three miles or beyond, including a seventeen-length decimation of a Grade 2 field at Ascot.
He’s been absent since March, however, where he ran flat in the RSA. That wasn’t his true running, however, and we can surely expect more from him this term.
Speaking about his season, Tizzard told Racing Post: “His first big target is the Ladbrokes Trophy and he certainly fits the profile for it. We think we’ll need a run before that, so we might go to Carlisle for the Colin Parker Memorial, which we won with Lostintranslation last year.”
Talking of targets beyond, Tizzard continued to say: “He’s 20lb away from becoming a Gold Cup horse – and every horse has their ceiling – but he’s still only a six-year-old and he did look very good last season. We’ll see how far he can go“.
Copperhead has an entry in the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby on Saturday. That is perhaps more of a speculative one, however, with Carlisle potentially on the radar for the next day.
“He could turn into a Grand National type”
An improving handicapper last term, we’re yet to encounter Mister Malarky‘s ceiling. He posted a career-best effort over fences two starts ago, winning a Grade 3 Handicap at Kempton. Taking the scalp of Black Corton that day, he was pulled up in the Ultima at the Festival when last seen.
With all his victories coming on Good to Soft or quicker, it perhaps makes it easier to forgive that defeat. Of his immediate plans, Tizzard said: “We’ll aim for the Ladbrokes Trophy again as he didn’t run too badly in it last year“.
Sixth in the race twelve months ago, he’ll arrive off just a pound higher this time around. Speaking of last year’s improvement, he continued to say: “He was a better horse after Christmas and looked really impressive when he won a big race at Kempton.”
He certainly remains well treated enough for some lofty handicap targets this term and perhaps beyond. There could be a massive day in the locker, as Tizzard suggested: “There’s no doubt he’ll have his day again and he could turn into a Grand National type“.
He could make his return on Saturday, with a five-day entry into the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot. He ran flat in that race twelve months ago, so will potentially be bidding to make amends.