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Saturday 16 December 2017

Cue hidden for Ryanair chase

Hidden Cyclone
Hidden Cyclone

Trainer Shark Hanlon is leaning towards the Ryanair Chase with Hidden Cyclone following Cue Card’s defection.

The 10-year-old was runner-up behind Dynaste in the Cheltenham Festival Grade One 12 months ago, but looked set for a tilt at the Queen Mother Champion Chase after a brilliant display in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown last month.

He remains as short as 10-1 for the two-mile championship next Wednesday, but with Cue Card now ruled out of the longer race yesterday and Dynaste already on the sidelines, Hanlon is now favouring the Ryanair the next day.

The County Carlow handler said: “I haven’t spoken to the owners yet but with Cue Card coming out of the Ryanair, in my own mind I would be tending to lean that way now.

“It’s not definite as yet. I’ll speak to the owners and I’ll know more after that, but Cue Card coming out does open the Ryanair up that bit more.

“You never know what might come out of the Champion Chase in the next day or two.

“If Sprinter Sacre or Sire De Grugy came out, we might rethink. Nobody expected Cue Card to come out. It’s a bit up in the air, but at the moment I’d be leaning towards the Ryanair myself, especially with the ground drying up. We’re happy with him and he’s in good form.”

Cue Card, so impressive in the Ryanair Chase in 2013, will miss the Festival for the second consecutive season after suffering a late setback.

Trainer Colin Tizzard said: “He was making a noise and we had him looked at it.

“He’ll miss Cheltenham but he should be OK for Aintree.”

Ante-post favourite for the Ryanair is the Gordon Elliott-trained Don Cossack, with Ma Filleule next best on the list.

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