Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Card Is the Ace in the Pack Yet Again

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Card Is the Ace in the Pack Yet Again

Article excerpt

LIKE a fine wine, Cue Card just keeps on getting better with age. The 11-year-old notched a second Grade One win of the season with a majestic performance in the Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday and now faces another showdown with stablemate and King George conqueror Thistlecrack in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

However, it is far from a straight rematch as Thistlecrack has been beaten since and trainer Colin Tizzard has another incredibly strong string to his bow in Native River - and that is before you even get out of Dorset.

In truth the official ratings suggested Cue Card had to win, as he did, by an eased-down 15-lengths- yet the 4-9 favourite still put in spectacular leaps along the way in what was an ordinary renewal outside of the market leader.

Having been taken out of the Ryanair Chase at the latest forfeit stage, the Gold Cup is now is the only target at the big meeting next month.

Tizzard said: "He is 11 and you wonder 'how many times can he keep doing this?' but he is back again.

"Today he jumped beautifully and he destroyed them. It was everything you want to see and more.

"Paddy Brennan was instrumental, he said it would not hurt to go back to two miles five as they go a fast pace and it will be Cheltenham Festival pace and instead of having three months off you can take this in, then back off him a bit."

Elsewhere on the card, Beyond Conceit booked his ticket to Cheltenham with victory in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle - but whether he runs in the race of the same name or the Supreme needs to be decided by Nicky Henderson.

The Rebecca Curtis-trained Bigbadjohn (8-1) won the Reynoldstown Novices' Chase, beating Flintham in a last-gasp finish, although jockey Jonathan Moore was hit with an 11-day ban for the use of his whip - which will mean he misses the first day of Cheltenham.

Curtis said: "He is in the four-miler (National Hunt Chase) and the RSA. We will get him home and make a plan, I guess. …

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