FIFTEEN horses owned by Yorkshire-born mining tycoon Alan Potts and his wife Ann are to race in Britain this winter after being moved to the west country stables of Colin Tizzard.
It is another major boost for Tizzard, who already has horses of the calibre of multiple Grade One winner Cue Card and World Hurdle winner Thistlecrack who will switch to fences this season.
Leading owners in Ireland, the Potts enjoyed a long association with Henry de Bromhead thanks to seasoned stars like Sizing Europe – winner of the 2011 Queen Mother Champion Chase.
However, they decided to move several horses last month to the County Wexford yard of Colm Murphy who, in turn, shocked racing last Friday when he announced his intention to retire because his yard was no longer financially viable.
Those horses now being trained by Tizzard include horses of the calibre of Sizing Granite, winner of the Grade One Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree last year, Bally Longford and Viconte Du Noyer.
Tizzard said: “We got the call on Friday and it’s lovely. Twelve of them are here now and there’s another three arriving next week. I think we’ve got 85 horses now, which is great.”
It remains to be seen whether jockey Jonathan Burke – retained by the Potts in Ireland – will ride the Tizzard horses when they run in Britain.
Meanwhile Tizzard says Cue Card remains on track for Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase at the end of next month where he will be hoping to replicate his 2015 win under an inspried Paddy Brennan.
However, he has warned that Thistlecrack will miss his intended novice chase debut at Chepstow on Saturday week unless there is significant rainfall at the Welsh track. He does not want to risk such an exciting horse on fast ground.
Henry Candy is keeping his fingers crossed for fast ground at Chantilly this weekend to allow Limato to line up in the Prix de la Foret.
The brilliant July Cup hero has not been seen in competitive action since beating all bar Mecca’s Angel over five furlongs in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York last month.
Limato finished runner-up in the Foret at Longchamp 12 months ago and Candy sees the seven-furlong Group One as the perfect target for his charge.
Candy said: “He’s in good form and we’re planning to run on Sunday.
“They’re so confident of a dry week I believe they’re putting some water on (the track), which isn’t great news for me, but there you go.”
Candy also confirmed his other star sprinter Twilight Son on target for the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot next month.
Willie Mullins is “anxious” to learn the outcome of a British Horseracing Authority investigation into alleged betting irregularities that reportedly concerns the withdrawal of Faugheen from the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Mullins is neither involved in the investigation nor suspected of any wrongdoing, but confirmed that the BHA were earlier in the year looking “for certain dates and times” that are thought to be linked with a number of lay bets before the eight-year-old was taken out of the big race on March 15.
Faugheen’s trainer announced on February 17 that the seven-times Grade One winner would not defend his Champion Hurdle crown after he had developed a sore suspensory ligament.
He had been an odds-on favourite to win the race, which was claimed by stablemate Annie Power who was supplemented for the Champion Hurdle.
Annie Power, who runs in the colours of Faugheen’s owners Rich and Susannah Ricci, had previously won at Punchestown on the same day the news of Faugheen’s injury was confirmed by his trainer.
Mullins, Ireland’s champion trainer, said: “I wasn’t given specific details by the BHA, but they were looking for certain dates and times and I did that. I’m as anxious to know what happened, if anything happened, as quickly as possible.”
The 2015 Cheltenham Festival hero Next Sensation made a heartwarming return to winning ways at Newton Abbot.
Trained by Michael Scudamore and ridden by his brother Tom, it was the error-prone chaser’s first victory since winning the Grand Annual Chase at the National Hunt Festival.
Frankie Dettori is set to ride the Dermot Weld-trained Fascinating Rock in Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly – the Italian jockey will be seeking a record fifth win in the race. A workout today will determine whether Weld’s dual Derby winner Harzand will line up in France.