Have we seen the end of Cue Card?

Have we seen the end of Cue Card?

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It’s now just one win in six for the two time Cheltenham Festival winner…

A six runner race and sent off at 2/1, many punters would usually be licking their lips at that price in a field that small for Cue Card. But not on Saturday. He was second favourite behind the improving Bristol De Mai for the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park and going off his recent woes where he has fallen twice in his last three races, it would have been a risk to back him, despite the fact he’s won this race three times in the past. All the right signs were coming out of the Tizzard yard about him however and along with his usual jockey Paddy Brennan stepping down to hand the reins over to Harry Cobden, some avid Cue Card fans could have been convinced that this was going to be the race that reignited his stellar career. But it wasn’t to be.

As Bristol De Mai forged to clear to win the Grade 1 Chase at a canter, 57 lengths behind down the Haydock straight was a depleted, slow and occasionally what looked to be motionless Cue Card. This is a nine time Grade One winner, a horse with two Cheltenham Festival wins on his record and one of the most popular horses on the circuit finishing furlongs behind the winner. His incredible record of 16 winners in 39 races is a feat which most trainers/owners could only dream of their horse having, never mind with nine of those coming in the highest Grade of national hunt racing possible.

He’s gone for Gold Cup glory in the past two years falling on both occasions but he keeps on bouncing back. He bounced back from his 2016 fall by winning the Betfred Bowl Chase comprehensively and then put in a near faultless performance in the Betfair Ascot Chase in his final race prior to Cheltenham this year. But since that fall in the Gold Cup just three fences out from the finishing post, he hasn’t looked the same. It’s almost like he’s given up. Tea For Two beat him to Betway Bowl Chase glory at Aintree and then he fell in the Charlie Hall Chase in his seasonal reappearance at Wetherby earlier on this month. These performances have seen his mark drop to 168, the lowest since his Betfair Chase win in 2017.

This is a horse blessed with a huge amount of speed, we know that due to his Champion Bumper in 2o10. But something just isn’t clicking for him at the moment. Is it a lack of confidence from the horse transmitting into the way he’s getting ridden? It could well be or could it just be the fact that unfortunately he just isn’t good enough for the higher Grade races anymore. At the age of 11, he isn’t getting any younger and with the Tizzard clan this week suggesting he may miss the King George as “there might be easier options for him” then surely that’s a big hint to the Tizzard’s future plans with him?

This is a horse so used to competing at the highest level. The fact you can get him at a price as big as 40/1 for the King George says a lot in itself. Colin Tizzard and owner Jean Bishop will no doubt have plenty to discuss over the next few weeks and whatever they decide to do with him then good luck to them but we really do believe this could be the start of the end for Cue Card and maybe an entry into a less competitive Grade 3 contest could well be the perfect fairwell for one of the most popular racehorses to have ever graced a race track.

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