JOE TIZZARD says Lostintranslation will now head straight to the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup following his below-par performance in the King George VI Chase.
Initial entries for steeplechasing’s blue riband race are published today and Tizzard – assistant trainer to his father Colin – confirmed the horse has undergone a soft palate operation to assist his breathing after being pulled up in the Boxing Day feature.
Lostintranslation had staked a strong claim for the Gold Cup with victory in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November – and while an outing in next month’s Denman Chase at Newbury was on the agenda, it is now being ruled out.
“We’ve just gone easy with him and he’s had his flu jab.
“There’s nothing that has particularly come out of the race that would say that is the reason for the run,” said Tizzard junior.
“He had an off-day. Whether Haydock took more out of him than perhaps we thought, it’s hard to tell, but all his work leading up to Kempton was very good and we couldn’t have been happier. It’s our job now to get him back and get him 100 per cent for the Gold Cup.
“It would be nice to point at something and say that was the reason, but we haven’t got that, so we’ll just freshen him up and I don’t think we will run him before the Gold Cup.
“We can do plenty at home and just maybe take him for a couple of racecourse gallops and freshen him right up for March.”
Yorkshire hopes are likely to rest with Catterick trainer Phil Kirby’s Top Ville Ben who could not be more impressive when winning Wetherby’s Rowland Meyrick Chase on Boxing Day under Tommy Dowson.
Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson says dual Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Altior will not take up his entry in the Unibet Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton this weekend. The brilliant 10-year-old has not been seen in competitive action since suffering his first defeat in 20 starts over obstacles when runner-up to Cyrname in a much-anticipated clash at Ascot in November.
He missed an intended outing in the Desert Orchid Chase over the festive period due an abscess, but Henderson provided a positive update following a pleasing workout on Saturday morning –and the following day confirmed this Saturday’s two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two as his target.
Altior was the headline name among just six entries on Monday and would have been a red-hot favourite to get back on the winning trail.
RUNAWAY Ascot winner Not So Sleepy – one of the horses that has taken jockey Jonathan Burke’s career to new heights – could reappear at Newbury next month.
An emphatic winner of the Betfair Exchange Trophy, he is one of 56 horses confirmed for the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle – one of the National Hunt season’s most competitive handicaps.
The eight-year-old is trained by Hughie Morrison who actually won York’s Dante Stakes last May with subsequent Epsom Derby disappointment Telecaster.
He’s also not ruled out a Champion Hurdle tilt – Make A Stand won the Newbury race in 1997 before following up at the Cheltenham Festival a month later under a young AP McCoy for trainer Martin Pipe.
“We have put Not So Sleepy in the Betfair Hurdle and we are going to think about it,” said Morrison.
“The Champion Hurdle is not the strongest race at the moment, but the Betfair Hurdle bonus definitely pushes us towards thinking about Newbury.
“Some people were quite rude about his jumping but I thought he was pretty slick actually at Ascot.
“We will let the dust settle, discuss it over the next couple of weeks and then see how we are going.
“He went up 17lb, which is a lot, but you can’t complain,
“When you win a big handicap by that margin you deserve it. You can’t be expected to get away with 7 or 8lb after that.
“We will debate it with the owners but I think it best if you have the time not to jump to any conclusions, but sit and be quiet about it and then discuss it when reality kicks in.
“He took the race well.”