Tizzard Claims Elegant Escape is the Gold Cup Forgotten Horse
The Gold Cup looks wide open this season, and trainer Colin Tizzard has reminded people of the chance that Elegant Escape has in the race. He believes that his Welsh National winner is the forgotten horse in the race, and that forecasted conditions for next Friday will play into his strengths.
Tizzard will also saddle last year’s winner Native River, who is another who will love the testing conditions, as well as Thistlecrack, who finished second in the King George behind Clan Des Obeaux over Christmas. However, despite having those two in the race, he has been quick to tell people that they cannot rule out Elegant Escape in the big one, and that he has a chance of upsetting the bigger names.
The main reason for backing and supporting Elegant Escape right now will be because of his staying ability, and the weather forecast that we have both this week and next. If the forecast is right, more rain will fall between now and the start of the festival, which will mean we start with either soft ground, or ground that is good to soft, soft in places.
Races will take place for three days around Cheltenham before we get to the Gold Cup, so the ground won’t have chance to drain and get any quicker. All this is going to make the Gold Cup a strong test of stamina, just like it was last season when Native River came out on top. Just like Elegant Escape, he too is a Welsh National winner, with stamina in abundance, and they are similar horses in terms of the profile they have.
While Native River has shown his class in the past with a win in this race, plus others, there is nothing saying that Elegant Escape cannot run a big race too. He finished second in the trial at this course in January, although that was over three miles, which is two furlongs shorter than the Gold Cup distance. He was closing strongly that day, and off the bridle earlier in the race, and with another couple of furlongs to run, there is no doubt he would have won that race. A win would probably have made him a shorter price for the Gold Cup, but he deserves a lot of credit for how he ran, and he is certainly not a lost cause.
The tougher the race becomes, the more it will suit horses like Elegant Escape and Native River. With three days of racing on the ground before the Gold Cup, and rain around for the next few days, things are beginning to turn in the favour of the Welsh National winner, and just like his trainer has told us, you cannot underestimate him.