Punchestown Festival: Cue Card to collect in Gold Cup
David Metcalf | April 26, 2016
Cue Card looks pure Gold at Punchestown
With Don Cossack sadly ruled out through injury, Cue Card looks a worthy favourite to bag another Grade 1 success in Wednesday’s Punchestown Gold Cup (17:30), which is the centrepiece of the Irish National Hunt Festival.
The 10-year-old Colin Tizzard trained gelding has better than ever this season after undergoing a breathing operation, winning four of his five starts.
After landing the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his return to action, Cue Card cruised to a seven length success in a Grade 1 contest at Haydock.
Cue Card went on to land the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day by a head from the brilliant Vautour, and was disputing the lead and travelling strongly in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival last month when coming to grief three from home.
Authoritative display at Aintree
The son of King’s Theatre had yet to be asked a serious question by jockey Paddy Brennan when disaster struck, and Cue Card showed he was none the worse for that tumble when gaining compensation with success in a Grade 1 at Aintree.
After being held-up, Cue Card made smooth headway to take up the running three out and shot clear to win easing down at the line by nine lengths from Don Poli, with Djakadam a further eight lengths behind in third.
It was an ultra-authoritative display, and it’s hard to envisage Don Poli or Djakadam turning the tables as they had no excuses.
Providing this race doesn’t come too quickly, it looks Cue Card’s for the taking granted a clear round.
Road To Riches not to be underestimated
Don Poli looks sure to run his usual honest race, but Road To Riches could be the one to spring a surprise if Cue Card Fails to live up to expectations.
The Noel Meade trained gelding developed into a top-class performer last season when winning three of his five starts, including the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
Road To Riches also ran an cracker to finish third to Coneygree in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, holding every chance at the last before being unable to find any extra close home to be beaten 3 1/2 lengths, and was far from disgraced in this 12 months ago when third to Don Cossack.
Step back up in trip a plus
The nine-year-old comes into this year’s renewal having not endured such a hard campaign, and ran very well on his penultimate outing when third to Vautour in the 2m 5f Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Although beaten 1/2 a a length by Smashing last time out when sent off odds-on, Road To Riches was not suited by the drop back to 2m 4f and this 3m 1f test will be much more up his street.
Coral’s top tip: Cue Card looks a cut-above and rates a solid bet. Road To Riches is fancied to run a big race at decent odds.