By Simon Jackson.
Colin Tizzard has confirmed that the £300,000 Ryanair Chase on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival is the target for Cue Card who won the race in 2013.
Cue Card led from the outset when winning the two miles and five furlongs Grade 1 contest two years ago where he was never headed and pushed on to score by nine lengths.
Tizzard’s charge missed the Festival last year due to injury and has raced three times since returning to the track two months ago.
The nine-year-old was fourth on his comeback in the Haldon Gold Cup Chase at Exeter in November and filled the same position in the extended three-mile Betfair Chase at Haydock Park later that month.
He was fifth at his last start in the William Hill King George VI Chase over three miles at Kempton Park on Boxing Day and Tizzard believes that the drop back in distance will suit his stable star.
“The Ryanair Chase is the target for Cue Card,” Tizzard said as 39 entries were announced for the valuable contest on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival.
“It looks as though in the very top grade that he does not stay, so that’s why we are coming back in trip.
“He picked up quite a nasty cut in the King George and had to have stitches. He had to have a few quiet days but we have just started riding him back now.
“He will not run before Cheltenham and we have got two and a half months to get him ready.”
Tizzard could be double-handed in the Ryanair as he has also entered dual Cheltenham-winner Third Intention, who was fifth in last year’s Festival Plate at The Festival.
“We entered Third Intention in there just in case he went and hosed up somewhere,” he continued.
“I don’t know where he will he go next but we thought it was worth making an entry as you never know.”
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