Grand National Festival: Cue Card can Bowl over rivals
David Metcalf | April 5, 2016
Compensation awaits for Cue Card
Cue Card looked sure to play a hand in the finish when crashing out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and can gain compensation by landing the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl at Aintree (14:50) on day one of the Grand National Festival.
The Colin Tizzard trained gelding finished a distant runner-up top Don Cossack in the race 12 months ago, but has looked a different horse and better than ever this season after undergoing a breathing operation.
After landing the Charlie Hall Chase in terrific style at Wetherby on his return to action, the 10-year-old posted a breathtaking display when cruising to a seven length success in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Yet to be asked a serious question
Cue Card went on to land the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day by a head from the brilliant Vautour, and was disputing the lead and travelling strongly last in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival last month when coming to grief three from home.
The son of King’s Theatre had yet to be asked a serious question by jockey Paddy Brennan when disaster struck, and there seems little doubt that he would have given the eventual winner Don Cossack plenty to think about had he stood on his feet.
Providing that fall hasn’t left its mark, Cue Card looks the one to beat judged on his victory in the King George at the Merseyside track where his form figures read 1222.
Don Poli the pick of the Irish
Willie Mullins raider Don Poli plugged on to finish a distant third in the Gold Cup and looks a big danger is there is some juice in the ground.
The seven-year-old could never go the pace on quick ground at Cheltenham before staying on strongly to be beaten 14 1/2 lengths without ever threatening to trouble the leaders.
Prior to that effort, Don Poli had won both his starts in good style. In the first of those at this venue, the gelding overcome adversity to get the the better of last season’s Grand National hero Many Clouds in the Lotto Chase.
Course form a plus
Don Poli’s girth strap went with about half a circuit to run, and jockey Bryan Cooper performed miracles to stay in the plate and steer him to success by four lengths.
It was a performance which oozed class, and Don Poli went on to land a battling 1/2 a length success in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown when idling once hitting the front. Judged on those efforts, he looks sure to go well.
For more Grand National Festival race tips and previews, visit our Aintree page.
Coral’s top tip: Cue Card rates a solid bet to get back to winning ways after falling when holding every chance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Don Poli can chase him home.