Colin Tizzard confident Cue Card will deliver at Aintree

Dorset trainer believes his charge can return to winning ways in Betfred Bowl

Patrick Mullins: “Cue Card is the one to beat on form but he is coming back from a fall and he has been beaten there a few times, so that gives us some hope.”

Patrick Mullins: “Cue Card is the one to beat on form but he is coming back from a fall and he has been beaten there a few times, so that gives us some hope.”

 

Colin Tizzard feels Cue Card is still in tip-top form ahead of his bid to put behind him his costly Cheltenham Gold Cup fall in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree. The 10-year-old would have netted a £1 million bonus for connections had he added the blue riband to his wins in Haydock’s Betfair Chase and the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

He was still travelling well when those hopes were shattered as he exited at the third-last fence, but trainer Colin Tizzard reports everything to have been plain sailing since and he is hopeful of redemption on Merseyside.

“He’s been in the form of his life all season. Aintree on good to soft ground is absolutely perfect for him,” said the Dorset handler. “Everything’s been absolutely fine since Cheltenham. Paddy Brennan came down and schooled him and he looks fantastic. May they all jump round clear and the best horse win.

“We haven’t had him in the form he’s in ever, I don’t think. With a clear round he should take all the beating.”

The Willie Mullins-trained pair of Djakadam and Don Poli finished second and third respectively behind Don Cossack in the Gold Cup and bid to prevent Cue Card from returning to winning ways.

A spectacle

“Djakadam had a hard race at Cheltenham considering he has really only had one run all season as he fell in his prep race. It is very possible that he will improve and I don’t see the track holding any fears for him.

“Don Poli didn’t have quite as hard a race at Cheltenham. Davy Russell hadn’t ridden him for quite a long time and I think that he is probably better than the bare form of that run. He has won over course and distance and we are expecting a big run. I am amazed at the prices.

“The only worry with Don Poli is that twice after Cheltenham he has disappointed at Punchestown. That is the slight concern but he seems in good form and I would not be surprised if he reversed form with Djakadam.”

Irish Cavalier outran his odds of 66-1 when finishing a fine fifth in the Gold Cup and his trainer Rebecca Curtis believes the slightly shorter trip will suit.

“He’s been in good form since Cheltenham,” said Curtis. “Paul (Townend) always had a feeling the Gold Cup trip might just be stretching him and he obviously got caught on the line for fourth. Coming back in trip slightly will probably be a help.

“We’re putting the blinkers on him, but he’s not ungenuine. They might just help him travel a bit better as they’ll go a good gallop.”

Saphir Du Rheu was a good winner of the Mildmay Novices’ Chase 12 months ago and returns to fencing after being put in his place by Thistlecrack over hurdles on his last two starts. Connections of the Paul Nichols-trained grey are hoping a return to Aintree will revitalise him.

“Obviously he’s got Cue Card and various other ones to beat, but if he runs like he did in the novice chase at Aintree last year, which he won by 15 lengths, I think he stands a good chance ,” said owner Andy Stewart.

“ “He lost his way and was well beaten in the World Hurdle when we thought he’d run a lot better than that. He’s done nothing wrong at home.We just hope he takes to the fences again and returns to the form he showed here last year.”

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