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Robbie Power to get pick of Tizzard-trained Potts' family horses at Cheltenham

Wed 21 Feb 2018

Robbie Power will have the pick of the horses running in the colours of late owners Ann and Alan Potts at next month's Cheltenham Festival.

Punchestown Festival - Day One - BoyleSports Champion Chase Day Robbie Power and Colin Tizzard have forged a closer relationship (PA)

Trainer Colin Tizzard, speaking in front of the press on Wednesday, confirmed the Gold Cup-winning jockey is in pole position to take the rides on those horses in his yard running under the ownership of the family.

He said: "Robbie Power is number one jockey for the Potts."

Asked if that was in both England and Ireland, he added: "It looks a bit like that.

"I think the situation is Robbie Power is the first jockey or we can use Bryan (Cooper). If Bryan is busy in Ireland, we can use whoever we like"

Heading the list of mounts Power is in line for is last year's Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase runner-up Fox Norton, who is being aimed at the Ryanair Chase on March 15.

Colin Tizzard - pre-Cheltenham

Tizzard said: "After he ran in the Game Spirit last year he was lame in his back and we had to give him a few injections as he had a slightly kissing spine. He had that after this year's King George, that is why he didn't jump at all.

"He is absolutely fine now. We missed the Game Spirit with pus in his foot. That is still rumbling about now. He will be fine.

"I expect we will go for the two-and-a-half-miler, unless Altior frightens everyone off, then we might take him on.

"Altior does look the business, but we must not run away from one horse and we very nearly won it last year and that was when we were supposedly out of form. It is where we think the easiest opposition is where we will go."

Joe Tizzard - Cheltenham preview

Finian's Oscar, who is another potential mount for Power, is likely to be fitted with blinkers on his return to fences following a wind operation for a tilt at the JLT Novices' Chase, having pulled up in the Cleeve Hurdle on his latest start.

Tizzard said: "He will almost certainly go for the JLT. He schooled this morning over fences. He ran in the Cleeve and didn't get round and pulled up in the end.

"He was making a noise so we've done his palate. I'd say he will have blinkers on and go for the JLT.

"His jumping all season has been a little bit suspect so that is what we will do (apply blinkers)."

One Potts' horse the Grade One-winning rider will not be on board at the meeting is Pingshou, who has been ruled out of the Unibet Champion Hurdle after meeting with a setback.

Tizzard said: "He has got a splint that keeps on rubbing on the suspensory so he has got to have a splint removed. This will take three weeks, so he might be back for Aintree."

Tizzard is leaning towards returning Elegant Escape in the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase on March 14.

The Milborne Port handler is favouring the Grade One contest for the six-year-old over the National Hunt Chase for amateur riders earlier in the meeting.

After finding only Black Corton too strong at Kempton, the John Romans-owned gelding returned to winning ways with a facile victory in a graduation chase at Exeter.

Tizzard said: "This is a beautiful young horse. We having given him a campaign a bit like Native River had. He would stay four miles.

"He could go in the RSA or the four-miler. Black Corton is a very good horse, but he beat him at Newbury and we were closing on him fast at Kempton as well. I think Cheltenham will be right for him.

"We will just assume it is good to soft. At the moment we are definitely leaning towards the RSA, but if a top Irish jockey became available, that might change it.

"He is 154 and there are not many rated above him for the RSA."

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