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Cue Card vies for Cheltenham favouritism after Haydock triumph

Last year’s Cheltenham Festival Ryanair Chase winner Cue Card was cut from 25/1 into 5/1 by Coral for the Cheltenham Gold Cup following his four and a half lengths win in the Betfair Chase.

The seven-year-old – who was tipped by this news site to shock the high-class field at Haydock – made all to cross the line ahead of the David Pipe-trained Dynaste, with last year’s winner Silviniaco Conti back in third.

Nicky Henderson’s 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth – who went off as the heavily-fancied favourite at 15/8 – disappointed when finishing a distant sixth.

The eight-year-old remains favourite for Cheltenham’s showpiece event at 4/1 and Henderson remained upbeat in spite of the loss, which came in Bobs Worth’s first run since cruising to a seven-length win around Prestbury Park last spring.

Eight of the horse’s nine wins have come on better ground than what was on offer at Haydock and his 62-year-old handler is confident Bobs Worth will be charging up Cheltenham’s famous hill ahead of the pack come the middle of March.

However, the high-class gelding has been ruled out of the King George VI chase for the second successive season and Henderson may take the same route with Bobs Worth as last year, when he won the Gold Cup under Barry Geraghty after just one prior outing.

Cue Card now heads the market for the King George at 2/1 and will be all the rage at Kempton after this performance, although a good run from Long Run at Haydock will have fans of Henderson’s other high-class eight-year-old dreaming of a third win in the Boxing Day thriller.

Long Run put in a solid shift under Sam Waley-Cohen, finishing a respectable fourth out of eight runners and is now a very backable 14/1 to retain his King George crown.        

Paul Nicholls’ Al Ferof triumphed in a poor renewal of Ascot’s Amlin Chase with some style from French Opera – who was the only other runner – and is now 7/1 to win at Kempton over Christmas.