Tizzard couple Cue Card and Thistlecrack thriving ahead of Punchestown Festival
David Metcalf | April 19, 2016
Tizzard bullish about Punchestown bound stable stars
The 2016 Irish National Hunt Festival gets underway at Punchestown on Tuesday, April 26th, and two of the sport’s biggest stars are on course to make the journey over from Colin Tizzard’s stable in Dorset.
Cue Card, winner of Aintree’s Betfred Bowl in brilliant style, is all set for the fabulous Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup, for which he is currently 7/4 second-favourite with Coral.
The 10-year-old, also winner of Kempton’s King George VI Chase over Christmas, fell in last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, won by Gigginstown House Stud owned Don Cossack – who he set to renew his rivalry with on April 27th and heads the market at 6/4
Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father, is looking forward to next week’s race and is not scared of any of the opposition, who could also include Willie Mullins trained Ryanair Chase hero Vautour (3/1).
Cue Card “as good as he has been all season”
“Cue Card has come out of the Aintree race really well and he was so fresh the following day that I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s not had a hard second half to the season and he seems in as good a shape as he has been all season,” said Tizzard junior.
“He was also in lovely form the day after the Cheltenham Gold Cup and bounced out of that race and schooled nicely before Aintree. He was in as good as form as he had been all season then and while I didn’t think he would be as impressive as he was in Liverpool, he sure ran a massive race. I think he would have won the Gold Cup.
“I’m more than happy with the horse and he’s never shied away from anything. The Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup could be a serious race and take nothing away from Don Cossack and Vautour, who have both stood up to everything. We’ll find out who the best is at Punchestown.
“I’m having a lot of fun with (Don Cossack’s trainer) Gordon Elliott at the moment and it’s good for racing and may the best horse win.”
Thistlecrack bidding for rare treble
The Tizzards also oversee one of the best long-distance hurdlers of recent years in Thistlecrack, who is on course for the Grade 1 World Series Champion Stayers Hurdle on Thursday, April 28th.
This eight-year-old won the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and followed up at Aintree in classy fashion, so is now heading to Punchestown to try and complete a rare treble.
Joe Tizzard added: “Thistlecrack seems to improve every time that we run him. He’s come out of Aintree lovely and we’ve still not got to the bottom of him – we don’t know just how good he is. He seems a step ahead of them over hurdles at the moment.
“Punchestown is a good meeting with serious prize money and this year it fits in well after Aintree with three weeks between them. Every year we’ve started to bring more and better horses over and we’ve kind of saved our best horses like Thistlecrack to do the three – Cheltenham, Aintree and then Punchestown.”
Thistlecrack is a strong odds-on 1/4 favourite to land the World Series Champion Stayers Hurdle and complete a perfect season.
There’s plenty more to read ahead of the Punchestown Festival on Coral’s special page.