By Simon Jackson.
The William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day is the immediate target for Cue Card after his impressive win in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase.
The Colin Tizzard-trained nine-year-old was far too good for his four rivals at Haydock Park on Saturday as he brushed them aside to score by seven lengths from last year’s winner Silviniaco Conti.
Cue Card won the Betfair Chase in 2013 but has suffered injury and wind problems since bagging the Grade 1 contest two years ago. He looked back to his best when winning the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his comeback last month.
The Betfair Chase is the first leg of the £1-million Chase Triple Crown – which incorporates the King George VI Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup – and Tizzard sees no reason why his stable star cannot target the lucrative bonus.
“He’s done it easier today [than two years ago]. It was always going to happen, I thought,” Tizzard said.
“It’s lovely to have him back. Today we’ve taken them all on and he’s done it really well.
“Class is permanent, form is temporary. With him we’ve had to deal with his little problems and now he’s back to his very, very best.
“He wants to get to the top of the gallop every day. He’s not a tearaway like he used to be. You can ride him anywhere you like now.
“There’s no reason to run away from Kempton. It’s the next stop, I’d say.
“If he’s in the form he’s in now, the Gold Cup is the ultimate race, so why not?”
The manner of the victory delighted the winning rider Paddy Brennan: “The way he was out there today, he felt like a Gold Cup horse,” Brennan said. “He was unbelievable.”
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