SIZING TENNESSEE surprised Colin Tizzard when beating stablemate Elegant Escape to give the Dorset trainer a one-two in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.
Tizzard, successful in 2016 with Native River, thought Elegant Escape was his main hope but winning rider Tom Scudamore had other ideas.
The trainer revealed: “Tom filled me with encouragement when he told me that he’s the best handicapped horse in the race.
“I thought Elegant Escape was the one for us in the race. Sometimes you get lucky and we certainly did today.”
Tizzard is now toying with the idea of following the same route with Sizing Tennessee as the one taken by
Native River who went on to win the Welsh National in the same season.
Like Tizzard, it was a second victory in this iconic race – formerly the Hennessy
– for Scudamore (right), successful with Madison Du Berlais in 2008.
“I lost my grandad two weeks ago – my mum’s father – and it was his funeral yesterday and I wasn’t able to go.
“Those are the sacrifices you make, and I was so sorry not to be there but he was with us today. He was a tremendous man and helped a lot of people. It’s one for him.”
Thomas Patrick, sent off the 3-1 favourite, failed to fire after vying for the lead in the early stages but folded tamely after a succession of jumping errors. Rider
Richard Johnson said the gelding felt flat.
Meanwhile, at Newcastle Buveur D’Air brilliantly saw off two of the young pretenders to his crown in a fantastic renewal of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
The seven-year-old cruised to victory from Irish star Samcro with Supreme Novices hero Summerville Boy only fourth.
Winning trainer Nicky Henderson said: “That was an incredible performance. Some people haven’t rated him as a dual Champion Hurdle winner – I think today those he has beaten are two good horses.” Samcro’s trainer Gordon Elliott said: “The best won. No matter what tactics we tried, that would have been the result.
“I’m still going to train him for the Champion Hurdle – we can’t back down now.”