Elixir De Nutz won Exeter’s biggest race of the season when he landed the 2023 Haldon Gold Cup at the Devon racecourse for trainer Joe Tizzard. The nine-year-old chaser beat a strong field in the Grade Two contest, scoring by just over three lengths.
It was a first success in the race for Tizzard, who emulated his father Colin Tizzard, a two-time winner of the 2m1½f contest. It also leaves the Somerset-based trainer optimistic about the season ahead with his chaser.
Tingle Creek May Be Next
The Exeter winner is 33/1 in the horse racing betting for the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December. That will be a step up in class for Tizzard’s runner, but he has now earned the opportunity.
Elixir De Nutz could be set to take on one of the leading two-mile chasers in the division, Jonbon, in that race at the Esher-based racecourse. Nicky Henderson’s stable star is likely to be one of the leading horse racing tips for this year’s Tingle Creek Chase, as he made an impressive return to action in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham during the November Meeting.
Last year’s winner Edwardstone is expected to return to Sandown to defend his crown in the race. He scored by nine lengths in the contest in 2022, and if successful in the latest renewal, he will be the first back-to-back winner since Kauto Star in 2006.
Captain Guinness is likely to join Elixir De Nutz, Jonbon and Edwardstone in the first Grade One 2m chase of the season in the UK. He will travel across from Ireland on the back of a victory in the Fortria Chase at Navan.
Cheltenham Festival Dreams
Tizzard will also have eyes further afield this season with the Cheltenham Festival in March now a possibility for the Haldon Gold Cup winner. He could feature in one of the Championship races at that meeting, the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
The chaser has run at the last two Cheltenham Festival meetings as he appeared in the Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase in 2022, while earlier this year, he took part in the same race, finishing ninth of 19 runners. His latest performance indicates her could run in graded company this season.
Connections of Elixir De Nutz may also consider the Ryanair Chase at the 2024 Cheltenham to take on defending champion Envoi Allen. Their horse was full of running at the back end of his contest at Exeter, and he has also prevailed over two miles and four furlongs in his career. Stamina should not be a problem for the nine-year-old if Tizzard opts for the longer of the two options.
As a former Grade One-winning hurdler, a lot has been expected from Elixir De Nutz over fences. His latest success in Devon could be the first of many major wins this season and it may be the moment Tizzard looks back at as being the turning point in his career as a chaser.