THE rise of Team Tizzard has been one of the great stories of recent seasons.
Father and son, Colin and Joe, have become one of the biggest and best operations in the jumping game.
Until only two years ago, the family run yard was just as busy with the huge numbers of dairy cows.
But Colin, 64, decided it was time to concentrate solely on the racing.
Hundreds of cattle were sold and new barns were built at Venn Farm in Dorset.
For what feels like forever, the Jumps has been dominated by trainers Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson. But the West Country-based Tizzards have quickly become a thorn in their sides.
On Saturday the big guns will clash in the feature Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Last year’s winner and Gold Cup hope Lostintranslation heads the betting for the Tizzards, with two-time King George winner Clan Des Obeaux flying the Nicholls flag.
It’s a big change for the Tizzard team, who would have risen at the crack of sparrows to milk the cows before tending to the horses until only a couple of years back.
The Tizzard stable has not been out of the top four in the Trainers’ Championship for the last three years.
Colin once said: "When we started racing, the farm was subsidising my racing habit.
"But in the past few years, the horses have subsidised the farm. It’s not a hobby anymore!"
Even on the morning of the Tizzards’ finest hour, Native River’s Gold Cup win in 2018, Joe was out milking the cows at 5.30am before travelling to Cheltenham.
And the team has one horse to thank for their rapid rise. The great Cue Card.
Nine Grade 1 wins, including a number with Joe in the saddle in his riding days, shot the team into the big time.
His King George heroics and Festival wins earned him a cult following amongst punters.
The Tizzards made their new momentum count and horses like Thistlecrack and Native River cemented their place at the top of the game.
From starting out in 1998 with racing seen as a hobby, the Tizzards have come a long way in the last decade.
Their name will regularly be next to the big tickets at the sales and powerhouse owners such as JP McManus and Cheveley Park are now supporters.
Paul Taylor and Richard O’Dwyer are amongst a new breed of racing owners and their Lostintranslation is the latest star on the Tizzard production line.
He sits in the box that Cue Card used to call his own, but the heartbreaking story behind the horse is what makes his success even more poignant.
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Taylor asked his agent to buy a horse that would take them to Cheltenham after his three-year-old son Charlie was run-over and killed.
One of the last films Charlie went to see was the Minions and the yellow colours signify the love Charlie had for the characters.
The horse has since risen through the ranks, winning Grade 1s at Aintree, finishing third in the Gold Cup and is the defending champ ahead of Saturday’s big race.
The horse understandably means a hell of a lot to the owners.
Before the Festival last season, Taylor said: “Ever since we first met him — he was the first horse we bought after Charlie’s death — there’s been a sense that there was going to be something special about him.
“Every time we watch him we expect something special to happen.
“Myself, my family and friends are all highly realistic people. We’re not owed anything but there’s something about him that feels surreal, almost like someone else is watching.”
And with the Tizzard yard coming into form just in time, you can expect Lostintranslation to be primed at Haydock on Saturday as he starts his journey back to the Gold Cup.
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