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  1. #11
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012

    On Saturday morning, Cue Card sat proudly on top of the market for the Ryanair Chase. A top class two-mile novice chaser last season, second in the Arkle, he put up the performance of his life in winning the Haldon Gold Cup over two and a quarter miles at Exeter on his debut this term.

    He under-performed in the King George, he made a couple of early mistakes and he was struggling before the three-mile trip really became an issue, but he didn’t appear to stay the distance either. The Ryanair looked like the race for him at Cheltenham, two miles and five furlongs, probably ideal.

    Trainer Colin Tizzard was quoted in the Racing Post on Saturday morning: “That’s the plan (the Ryanair Chase)” he said. “… I think he’ll stay two miles and five, but if he doesn’t, we can go back to the Champion Chase. If he wins (the Betfair Chase at Ascot) tomorrow, I would think it would be the Ryanair …”

    On Saturday afternoon, Cue Card went and won the Betfair Chase impressively. Okay, so it would have been closer if Captain Chris hadn’t made that jolting error at the second last fence, he may not have even won, but he may have. Joe Tizzard hadn’t gone for him at the time and, on the balance of probability, he was probably still just about the more likely winner at the time.

    Ryanair Chase next, you thought.

    The first signs of cracks were in the immediate post-race comments. “We’ll leave it until the last minute (before deciding on his Cheltenham target),” said the trainer. “I would like to go for the Queen Mother,” said the owner, “but I think my family might try to sway me towards the Ryanair. I’m not easily swayed though.”

    You can’t blame connections, it is their prerogative to change their minds or to not make up their minds. However, the whole scenario does bring into sharp focus, once again, the plight of the ante post Cheltenham punter – more pronounced this year than any other year in living memory (or that’s how it appears to be).

  2. #12

    CUE CARD (41) didn't have to produce his best to win a good renewal of the Grade 1 Ascot Chase. He jumped with real athleticism, clearing several of the jumps a good deal faster than his rivals. He had to shorten up at a couple and did land on his nose at one on the far side but it wasn't that serious. He was always moving more strongly than his rivals and just kept powering away for a six length success. He was still moving strongly crossing the line. My past ratings for him plus the way he was travelling suggests he could have pulled out a good deal more if pressed. His jockey said the same thing after the race.

    The big plus about this comfortable success is that Cue Card has not had a hard race in his prep for the Ryanair.

    Cue Card didn't get home in the King George thanks to the unsustainable gallop set by Champion Court and Junior. I still think he'd get the three miles in a more normally run race. However it does seem the right plan to go for the Ryanair as he may well have won all six times he's run longer than two miles and shorter than three miles over fences if he hadn’t unseated when moving well in one race and gone under by a short head to the top class Bobs Worth in another.

  3. #13

    Morning chaps. Regulars will know I'm a Cue Card fan and I think he would've beaten Captain Chris had that rival not blundered badly two out in the Ascot Chase. Regulars will probably also know that I'd be tempted to let rip over two miles in the Champion Chase rather than going for the Ryanair over 2m 5f but some would say he would merely be playing for second place behind Sprinter Sacre in the Champion, but I think there's the small matter of 80k for finishing second there and Cue Card has come closer than any other horse to giving a race to the SS having finished 7 lengths behind him in the Arkle. It looks increasingly like Cue Card is at his very best when allowed to lead and he's much more likely to get a small field in the Champion than the Ryanair. Anyway, it's clearly down to connections now. Colin Tizzard is inclined towards the Ryanair while his owner says he fancies the Champion. Time will tell, but so many people are dancing around waiting to see what other horses do and the fact they are doing so makes ante-post punting tricky nowadays.

  4. #14
    "He will run in the Ryanair, but he will be left in the Champion Chase," said trainer Colin Tizzard.

    "If the favourite (Sprinter Sacre) runs in the Champion Chase we will go for the Ryanair.

    "It's obvious, isn't it? We would be foolish not to leave him in the Champion Chase in case something happened to the big black horse (Sprinter Sacre)."

  5. #15
    Stable Fat Jockey (Moderator) Old Vic's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Hindsight 20:20 but was much keener on FL for this race...First L turning into a bit of a serial loser now though.

  6. #16

    Colin Tizzard said: “There is a lot of pressure when you have a really nice horse and he did everything in the Ryanair we thought he would. They went a true gallop and he proved he can stay – it was a beautiful ride from Joe and I’m very proud of my son.
    “You saw Cue Card at his best jumping fast and fluently and travelling well within himself. I wasn’t really watching the horse, I was watching Joe and he was very confident – he wasn’t forcing him and took a pull two or three times to make sure he got the trip.
    “Cue Card is a lot easier to ride these days – he just drops the bit and you can go as fast as you like on him. What’s more he has improved this season.
    “When Cue Card won the Champion Bumper three years ago it made my spine tingle and my heart was pumping like mad this time but Joe was a lot cooler than I was.
    “He’s the best horse I have ever had and am ever likely to have – I could go on for another 20 years and not train another Cue Card.”
    Joe Tizzard, who rode his first Festival winner aboard Earthmover in the 1998 Foxhunter Chase as a teenager for Dorset trainer Richard Barber, said: “People say Cue Card is keen when he’s taken on – and he has been in the past – but he wasn’t today.
    “I went to post on a long rein and he settled well. With a circuit to go I decided to slow things down and go my pace. I was able to keep filling him up and he’s done what I always knew he was capable of – he’s top-class. It’s fantastic for me, the yard and the horse because he’s had his detactors
    Last edited by Old Vic; 9th January 2014 at 09:15 AM.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Sprinter's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Tizzard revealed: "Cue Card is on course for the John Smith's Melling Chase. He did some fast work today and he couldn't be in better form.

    "I'd say it was one of his best performances at Cheltenham but he was very good at Ascot and his win in the Haldon Gold Cup was right up there.

    "He has had one blip all season and that was in the King George but I don't think he was quite right myself. Horses aren't machines and you need everything to be 100 per cent in these championship races and I don't think he was on song that day.

    "He has been top-class in his three other performances this season and has been as good as nearly everything else racing.

    "I think the John Smith's Melling Chase is shaping up to be a very, very good race if all three of them turn up. We have avoided Sprinter Sacre once already this year but this is over two and a half miles, which is Cue Card's trip.

    "After his last two performances, we are entitled to think we have the best two and a half miler but I have no reason to doubt that Sprinter Sacre will get the trip.

    "We got within seven lengths of him last year in the Arkle but I feel we are a much better horse this year, whereas Sprinter Sacre hasn't had a hard race since then. We don't know if he is better compared to last season because he hasn't been tested."

  8. #18
    Senior Member Lester's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Mordin on Cheltenham

    CUE CARD (44) confirmed just how good he is by running away with the Ryanair Chase in fast time. He made a couple of minor errors but had his rivals in trouble before the last and cleared away to score by nine lengths despite seeming to idle a little.

    It seems unlikely that anything can stop Cue Card winning the Melling Chase at Aintree. After that the plan is to take him to Punchestown where presumably he'll be tackling the two mile Champion Chase rather than the 3m 1f Punchestown Gold Cup. That means there's a real chance we'll be seeing him face off against Sprinter Sacre once more.

    Cue Card is the only horse that's made a race of it with Sprinter Sacre over fences so far. And he's now twice run a good deal faster than he did on that occasion. I reckon there's a real chance he can reverse placings with his old rival at Punchestown. This was the second time this season he's earned a simply enormous speed rating from me. I don't think he's getting the credit he deserves. That could all change after Punchestown.

    this stopped him winning the melling

    Last edited by Lester; 17th December 2013 at 11:02 AM.

  9. #19
    Morning Glory

    Cue card Ryanair winner

    “The plan has always been to start him off at Exeter and we’re looking at the King George, but we might go for the Betfair Chase at Haydock to find out he truly stays three miles,” Tizzard said.

    Betfair Chase Video

    Last edited by Old Vic; 17th December 2013 at 06:45 AM.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Lester's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    "I would think the others have got to improve to beat him, but our horse has to be on his game," he said.

    "I don't think he had a hard race at Haydock, but any of the first three or four (in the betting) could win. Three miles round Kempton will play to his strengths."


    "Al Ferof is the one I fear the most. His form in the past is very good and he'd be better at Kempton than Silviniaco Conti (third at Haydock)," said Tizzard jnr.

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