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Cheltenham Festival 2015: Cue Card out of Ryanair

Trainer Colin Tizzard revealed today that his stable star Cue Card had suffered a setback which has ruled him out of the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The nine-year-old won the race in 2013 and was a 6/1 chance with Coral to regain his crown in the 2m 5f contest on Thursday, March 12th.

However, Tizzard said that Cue Card had made a noise when working and would not be ready in time as he was to undergo a wind op today.
He hopes that the three-time Grade 1 winner will be back in action at Aintree.

Cue Card’s defection has seen Irish handler Shark Hanlon leaning towards another crack at the Ryanair with last year’s runner-up Hidden Cyclone, rather than the Queen Mother Champion Chase over 2m.

The 10-year-old found only Dynaste to good 12 months ago, and looked better than ever when winning the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown last month.

Hanlon immediately earmarked the Champion Chase for Hidden Cyclone after that success but, with Dynaste already on the sidelines and Cue Card also out, he is now reconsidering and favouring the Ryanair.

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.”

Hidden Cyclone is 8/1 with Coral for the Ryanair with fellow Irish raider Don Cossack remaining the solid 3/1 favourite.

Scu hoping good ground will give Sensation a Grand chance
Herefordshire-based trainer Michael Scudamore hopes a breathing operation and better ground will enable Next Sensation to get back to his best in the Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday, March 13th.

The eight-year-old finished a gallant close-up fourth in the race 12 months ago off a 1lb lower mark, and is currently a 10/1 shot with Coral for this year’s renewal.

Next Sensation has not been seen since finishing fourth in a handicap chase at Newbury in November, but Scudamore told the Daily Mail: “‘He had a racecourse gallop and that went very well and a breathing operation since his last run. Hopefully, that and better ground we will see him back to somewhere he should be.

“He hates the soft ground and every time we have run him this year it has nearly been heavy. We actually thought he ran a great race at Newbury considering the conditions.”

Riches team fear Carlingford Lough in Gold Cup
Connections of the much improved Road to Riches, currently a 9/1 chance with Coral for the Gold Cup, believe fellow Irish challenger Carlingford Lough is the one to beat in the blue riband contest.

The Noel Meade-trained gelding signalled that he was a major player for the 3m 2f contest on Friday, March 13th, when running out the impressive winner of the Lexus Chase over Christmas.

But Eddie O’Leary, racing manager for his owners Gigginstown House Stud, is wary of the threat posed by Carlingford Lough who claimed the Irish Hennessy by 3/4 of a length last time out and will by AP McCoy’s last ride in the race.

O’Leary told the Guardian: “Road To Riches is a nice horse who goes with a chance, but if you ask me who the right horse is for a Gold Cup, I’d be all over JP’s horse.” Carlingford Lough is 10/1 with Coral for the Gold Cup.