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Joe Tizzard previews his two Saturday runners, plus a final update on Cheltenham build-up

11 Mar 2023
Read what Joe Tizzard had to say on his two chances at Sandown today, as well as a final update on his string of stars heading to the Cheltenham Festival next week.

Sandown 13:15 – Non Stop
I think it will be quite hard work for these novices on this ground, but this fellow handled heavy ground well when he won at Warwick, and probably found the better ground back at that track against him last time when he put in his only disappointing run of the season.
He does have to give weight away to most of his rivals, but he’s a big, strong sort, and we’ve come here as he wouldn’t have got into the Boodles at Cheltenham next week off his current mark.
Sandown 13:50 – Off To A Flyer
I’m glad Off To A Flyer has just snuck into this EBF Final down the bottom of the handicap as it has been the target. It was soft ground when he finished third in a good race at Kempton at Christmas, so he should be able to cope with this.
He arguably should have won at Exeter last time, he just got done late on, but he’s a progressive sort who is now growing into the horse we thought he could be. I think he’s got a decent each-way chance off this mark of 115, it's just a case of how he handles the conditions.
I can see this being a typical Sandown race where there are plenty in contention turning for home, but by the time they jump the second last, quite a few have been pulled up, but as a 6-year-old I’m hoping he’s strong enough to handle the uphill finish.
Cheltenham Festival build-up
I don’t want to speak too soon as we are now so close to the Festival, but it’s so far so good, with our Cheltenham runners all coming through their work well this week. They have now all done their final serious gallops, and they have all schooled as well which is a big step to get through.
It has been a different build up to this year’s festival with my name on the licence for the first time, and that has brought added pressure. But that has been the case all season, and while I have woken up a few times in the night recently thinking about it, there is also a lot of excitement. 
All the prep runs have gone well, I haven’t changed too much in terms of what we’ve done previously, and while the ground may turn out softer than it looked a week or so ago, there’s nothing I can do about that.
A few years ago we may have had what could be termed 'social runners' at the festival, but my owners now are less inclined to send a horse that has no obvious chance, instead preferring to aim them at races they can win. That means that while we may not be sending a lot of runners there next week, I do believe the ones that are going are all there on merit, and will have a chance of some sort.

Click here to read: Joe Tizzard – Cheltenham Festival Stable Tour
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