Fiddlerontheroof will bid to get his season off to a successful start when he lines up for the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle.
The seven-year-old began his chasing career last season, winning a very strong beginners’ race at Exeter before a string of placed efforts in increasingly exalted company.
He was second to Monkfish in the Cheltenham Festival’s Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (formerly the RSA) – a performance Joe Tizzard, assistant trainer to his father Colin, considers one of his best pieces of form to date.
As Fiddlerontheroof prepares for his return on Sunday, Tizzard said: “He’s in good nick at home.
“He was second in the RSA. He came up against all of the best staying novice chasers last season, and he’s got quite a few seconds to his name, but he didn’t disgrace himself at all.
“He’s a horse that’s improving with age, and we’re looking forward to it.
“Cheltenham has to be the stand-out run, but his second to Next Destination (in the Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick) was a hell of a run as well.”
The yard was out of form and luck for much of last term, but Fiddlerontheroof was never unplaced in his seven appearances, and it is therefore hoped he has even more to offer this season.
“Our horses were certainly not firing all of last season, but he maintained consistency throughout the year,” added Tizzard.
“Off the back of how everything else ran, that just shows his level of ability, and hopefully there is going to be more to come.”
Fiddlerontheroof has also been entered for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury – and may target the Cheltenham Gold Cup later in the season, should he prove himself up to the mark.
He is already a Grade One winner over hurdles, and Tizzard said: “I think he’s every bit as good as a chaser.
“When he won the Tolworth Hurdle he was a year older than a lot of them, and he was physically capable of handling heavy ground over two miles.
“As we’ve stepped him up in trip, I think he’s probably improved. He’s got a lovely way about him – he doesn’t waste any energy in a race and he doesn’t pull or anything.”
Fiddlerontheroof is likely to be ridden for the first time this weekend by Brendan Powell, in a race the Tizzard stable won with Lostintranslation two years ago.
Of his Gold Cup potential, Tizzard said: “That’s the next question – he’s a 148 horse at the moment.
“Those second-season chasers have to make that next step, but we’re going down a tried-and-tested route.
” We like this race, the Colin Parker – and with his main target being the Ladbrokes Trophy at the end of November, we’ll see how he develops from that.”