Thursday, December 2, 2010
When Cue Card won the Cheltenham Champion Bumper on St. Patrick’s Day, not alone was he the youngest winner of the race in over ten years, at 40/1 he was also the biggest-priced. He was also just one of two four-year olds entered in the race (the other being Hidden Universe). His only previous win had been in a 1m 6f Fontwell bumper but looking a little closer into the race which he won by an extended 6l.
The form of the Fontwell race held up well as both the second and fourth horses (Caught By Witness, Dusky Bob) won cosily by a combined 9l next time out. Trained at Milborne Port by Colin Tizzard, the manner in which Cue Card won the Cheltenham bumper at his ease was stunning. Tizzard always held the gelding in high regard and said after the horse had the race by 8l"If he was trained by Willie Mullins he'd have been third of fourth favourite."
Cue Card is by King’s Theatre (by Sadlers wells) who is a proven Group 1 sire under both rules and a leading sire in 2009/10 based on % wins to runs. His Dam’s sire is the successful National Hunt sire King’s Ride out of a mare by the hugely influential Deep Run. He was bought for £75,000 as a yearling and sold thereafter for £52,000 as 3yo.
His debut over hurdles, a 2m 4f class 3 novices race, was visually impressive, winning unextended by thirteen lengths he jumped well throughout, with the second and subsequently placed second next time out, the fourth, Nicene Creed won a decent novices hurdle also, franking the form. Still a young horse, the gelding is a sharp jumper even if somewhat diminutive in stature.
His last run, over 2m, was a step up in class to Grade 2 and Cue Card duly won impressively, beating Dunraven Storm by 8l. Throughout the race he jumped neatly and when the field started to sprint he jumped very fluently, showing he can hurdle well at speed also. Comparisons have been made to Dunguib, but without the questions marks over his jumping. Following his win at Cheltenham, he was cut to 5/2 favourite from 6/1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and to 16/1 from 33/1 for the Champion Hurdle. He also received a lofty rating of 160 (last year’s Supreme Novices' winner Menorah is freshly rated 162).
His trainer Colin Tizzard began his career training point-to-point winners for his son to ride, dairy farmer Tizzard began with just 10 horses back in 1998 and now Cue Card, ridden on all four starts by Tizzard’s son Joe, is an exciting prospect and stable star.
Sky Sport’s correspondent Nic Doggett stated recently about Cue Card “On face value he might be the new Istabraq.” He is an exciting a novice since Rhinestone Cowboy and given time to develop, he could be exceptional. We are likely to see Cue Card take on Menorah and Silviniaco Conti at Cheltenham's International Hurdle in mid-December and the odds are very interesting. Blue Square go Menorah 13/8, Cue Card 9/4 and Silviniaco Conti 10/3.
This race should be a case of an early Christmas present for the Tizzard yard and a cue call onto greater things.