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Joe Tizzard: “Cue Card has come out of Cheltenham absolutely fine and none the worse for his fall”

Former jockey Joe Tizzard talks us through his runners this week

We have just the one runner on the first day, with Cue Card in the Betway Bowl. He won the race impressively last year after falling at Cheltenham, so we are hoping for the same again this time. Cue Card has come out of Cheltenham absolutely fine and none the worse for his fall. In fact he’s in great form. Paddy Brennan came down in the week to ride him and he was saying how Cue Card nearly always hits a flat spot in his races and he had just hit one at Cheltenham when he came down. Who knows what would have happened had he not fallen.

Some people have mentioned retirement for the horse, but we’ve certainly never mentioned it and it’s not even on our minds. It was only two starts ago he won a Grade 1 at Ascot and he’s showing no signs of age at home or on the track, in fact he’s working beautifully. He’s also a horse that thrives on the racing routine, he wants to be kept busy, and not a horse that would enjoy being out in a field.

Cue Card put a disappointing seasonal reappearance firmly behind him when storming clear to land the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock for a third time. The Colin Tizzard trained 10-year-old stalked 2015 Gold Cup hero Coneygree until taking up the running four from home and pulling clear from the second last to win by 15 lengths. He now has a chance of landing a £1m bonus if going on to land the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day and the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Retirement is not even in the minds of the Tizzards and Cue Card’s owners

There’s no pressure with this horse. He’s already achieved so much for us, and we’re just looking forward to another big run tomorrow. Tea For Two didn’t finish far behind us in the King George but I don’t think Cue Card ran to his best that day. Silviniaco Conti doesn’t look quite as good as he was, and Empire of Dirt has a bit to find. Cue Card must have a big chance. He ran a bit flat at Punchestown last year after winning at Aintree so this will be his last run of the season.

We look like running seven on Friday. We are very excited about running Fox Norton over two and a half miles in the Melling Chase. We had thought long and hard about which race to run in at Cheltenham, out of the Champion Chase and the Ryanair, and you’d have to say we probably chose right as we were only beaten a head in the Champion Chase. But he’s a horse we are convinced will relish that extra half mile. We watched replays of his Arkle run last year when he stayed on so strongly on the run in. Who knows he could even be a King George horse next season. He must have a fantastic chance and we’re really looking forward to running him.

And so to Aintree on Sunday for the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase. Colin Tizzard's Third Intention landed this 2m 4f contest at the Grand National venue with a 1 3/4 lengths victory over God's Own.

Third Intention goes in the Topham at Aintree

Pingshou ran a solid race in the Supreme and will run in the Grade 1 novices’ hurdle. West Approach stopped very quickly at Cheltenham which was disappointing. We had him scoped as we thought something might come to light but he scoped clean. He’s in good form and so he’ll run in the 3m Novices’ Hurdle, as will Elegant Escape. Third Intention will run in the Topham, and has run well over the National fences before so we’re hoping he can go well. Quite By Chance and Ultragold will also run.

Finian’s Oscar is set to run in the novices’ hurdle at Aintree on Saturday at 2.25. A bruised foot cost him from going to Cheltenham which was a real shame. The one positive to that is that he goes to Aintree as a fresh horse as a lot of these runners had a tough race at the Festival. He should take all the beating. We think he is a seriously exciting horse and he has already proved that.

In the handicap chase at 3.40 on Saturday Sizing Codelco features for us. We haven’t really got to the bottom of what happened with him at Cheltenham. We still like him a lot. His day will come, there is no doubt about that as he is too talented. Whether that is at Aintree it is difficult to say. We just have to keep going with him.

Robbie Power came over on Thursday to stay with us. We must have sat him on nearly 20 horses on Friday morning. We had a good chat and he is a sensible man. He has been there and has a lot of experience. My Dad really enjoyed meeting him. No disrespect to some of the younger lads, but he wasn’t like an 18 or 19 year who suddenly thought he had all the goodies. He went in there and talked sensibly and we look forward to working with him going forward.

Battle of Ideas is set to run on Saturday at Chepstow for the Coral Champions Club in the bumper. It is frustrating that we missed Fontwell because it was called off. We have also missed a couple of assignments because he had a few spots on him. That is basically like teenage spots. He seems in lovely form. He is working particularly nicely. I think Chepstow will play into his strengths. It will be good ground there and the big galloping track will play into his hands. I am excited about running him.

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