Tizzard looking to enjoy a fantastic moment at Cheltenham next week

Trainer Nicky Henderson with Altior, one of his leading contenders for honours at next week’s Chelte

Trainer Nicky Henderson with Altior, one of his leading contenders for honours at next weeks Cheltenham Festival. - Credit: PA

Trainer Colin Tizzard hopes to enjoy the greatest moment of his National Hunt racing career by landing a one-two in next week’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Although without Thistlecrack, who misses Friday’s Gold Cup through injury, Tizzard nevertheless looks to hold all the aces for the three-mile plus showpiece thanks to Cue Card and Native River.

He said: “I was devastated for Thistlecrack but I am sure he will be back next season.

“We’ve got the first and second-favourite in the Gold Cup and you have got to enjoy it. For me it is the biggest race of the season. We spend a lot of time and money buying horses to run in the Gold Cup, as that’s what we are all aiming for.”

Having suffered the anguish of watching Cue Card fall last year when on the verge of winning, many thought the 11-year-old had missed his chance.


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But despite his advancing years, the gelding appears to have equally strong claims as stablemate Native River, winner of this season’s Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National.

Tizzard said: “We would love to see Cue Card win. He started off as a bumper winner, now he is 11, and still running in top races.

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“He has done nearly everything bar win a Gold Cup. I don’t know what I would think if he won.

“If Native River wins I will feel the same. He has got all the qualities.”

In recent seasons Tuesday, the opening day of the Festival, has been dominated by Irish trainer Willie Mullins.

But this year the man to follow could be Nicky Henderson.

The 66-year-old, the all-time leading trainer at the meeting, could sparkle.

While holding leading claims in the Champion Hurdle, the Seven Barrows handler should be up and running if Altior does what is expected and wins the Arkle.

Henderson said: “It’s an extraordinary game. All you need is one success at the Festival.

“If you can have one on the first day, you have got the show on the road and from then on you can add to it. The world ends if you do not get one.”

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