herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Card to be on cue

Tizzard yard is in good from so expect the 10-year-old star to make a winning start

Cue Card should start his season with a win
Cue Card should start his season with a win

Colin Tizzard unleashed Thistlecrack to make a perfect debut over fences earlier in the week and he'll look to continue his fine run of form at Wetherby on Saturday as Cue Card lines up in the Charlie Hall Chase and Native River returns over hurdles.

The Tizzards would have every right to fancy Cue Card to make a winning start to his season, given the form of the yard and the form of the 10-year-old last season.

A winner of this race last year, Cue Card, of course, went on to win the first two legs of jump racing's triple crown, taking the Betfair Chase and the King George before falling when still very much in contention at Cheltenham in the Gold Cup, won by Don Cossack.

Compensation was obtained somewhat at Aintree when he went and beat Don Poli by nine lengths but he failed to cap off the season in style and had to settle for minor honours at Punchestown in the Gold Cup that Carlingford Lough triumphed in.

All that form and some good vibes from the yard should be enough to see him take care of Blaklion, who took last season's RSA Chase but could only finish fourth behind Tizzard's Native River at Aintree, and you would have to feel that Cue Card's connections have a fair idea as to what is required to be winning this valuable Grade Two.

In the West Yorkshire Hurdle, Grade One winning novice Ballyoptic is favourite to add to his win earlier in the month but this looks a real intriguing contest with plenty of depth to it and there will be those making a very strong case for Native River as he would look to have claims in such a race on the basis of his chase rating.

However, a chance is taken here on the Rebecca Curtis-trained The Romford Pele.

The nine-year-old has mixed it over hurdles and fences and only got as far as the Canal Turn in the Aintree Grand National last year, but he could be able to snare this prize for the Welsh trainer who has got her association with jockey Jonathan Moore off to a good start.

The Romford Pele is another to have already got his season underway, having won at Newton Abbot at the start of October. At a best price of 9/1 for a trainer who seems to have her string in top form, The Romford Pele makes plenty of appeal.

Meanwhile, at Leopardstown tomorrow, the Flat season will come to a close and Swamp Fox is given the nod to land another big prize in the November Handicap, which once again takes place in October.

Swamp Fox went down to the Willie Mullins-trained Laws Of Spin and Cradle Mountain at the Curragh last time and got 3lbs for his troubles, but he still may not be finished yet and the more rain the better for Joe Murhpy's charge as the trainer looks to follow up his big winner at the track last Sunday.

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