Joe Tizzard says it is business as usual as he prepares to officially take over the licence from his father Colin at the family’s Venn Farm base in the coming days.
Colin Tizzard’s long and distinguished career in the training ranks drew to a close at Chepstow on Friday when Reserve Tank finished third, with son Joe’s name going above the door for the new campaign, which kicks off next Saturday.
The younger Tizzard has been an integral part of the Venn Farm story for some time and even though he is keen to stress it is very much ‘Team Tizzard’ at their Milborne Port base, he believes he is taking over as the figurehead of the business at the right time.
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He also believes nothing major will change within their well-drilled operation, with him simply taking control of a 100-plus string of horses and an established set-up, rather than building up from scratch.
“It’s really exciting for me that it’s going into my name, it’s come at the right stage for me, but also nothing much is going to change here at home because I’ve been involved all the way through,” said Tizzard.
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“I’ve been doing a lot in the last 18 months anyway. So, it’s nice that it is going into my name but it won’t change the business at home.
“It’s beautiful that I’m not on my own starting from scratch, we’ve got an established team and there’s 100-plus horses to train and a good bunch, but that’s something we’ve built up as a family over the years and I’m lucky that my name is above the door.”
Colin Tizzard poses with The Big Breakaway at home at Venn Farm
“I’ve dealt with a lot of the owners and media for years, so they won’t notice a thing changing really, so it won’t be a massive shock to my system and it won’t change how we operate either.”
Tizzard Snr first took up a full licence in 1998 and since then has sent out over 800 winners, landing 32 Grade One races and some of the biggest contests in the sport.
Two of his best horses, Cue Card and Thistlecrack, provided the 66-year-old with success in the King George VI Chase and although both never made their mark in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the handler finally got his hands on the Festival’s blue riband in 2018 when Native River outbattled Might Bite in the hands of Richard Johnson.
Native River, ridden by Richard Johnson (right), beats Might Bite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018
Clearly proud of his father’s achievements in the training ranks, Joe is full of praise for the way the operation at Venn Farm has grown from a small string of just 10 horses when taking out the licence to a yard now housing over 100.
He can also rely on plenty of words of wisdom from the elder statesman of the family, who he is sure won’t be far away to offer an opinion on the gallops every morning.
“Dad’s not going anywhere, he’ll be up on the gallops every morning and I wouldn’t want that to change,” explained Tizzard.
“You don’t have to ask for advice from dad, you just get it – you don’t have much choice in the matter! But he’s not going anywhere, it just frees him up to have a bit more freedom and not have to answer his phone every day.
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“Dad has been the driving force of the business and Kim (Gingell, Tizzard’s sister who died in 2020) was a big part of it as well.
“We started with a team of three pointers when I was 16 some 26 years ago and have grown it into a business that is capable of competing in all the best races, so dad is immensely proud of what he has created and I think he’s proud of what we’ve been able to achieve as a family and we’ll continue to try to do the same.”