By Simon Jackson.
Cue Card continued his superb form this season with a thrilling victory in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
The Colin Tizzard-trained nine-year-old tracked the leaders for the bulk of the three miles of Kempton’s feature race of the season. He improved to challenge the leader Vautour as favourite Don Cossack mounted a late challenge but was left as the sole danger when the favourite fell at the penultimate fence.
Vautour looked set to secure victory for Ruby Walsh but Cue Card refused to be denied and fought back to win by a head. The pair finished clear of Al Ferof who finished third for the third successive year.
“It’s the best feeling of my whole career,” said winning jockey Paddy Brennan who is possibly best known as the rider of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander.
“I can’t take it in. I’ve beaten one of the best horses in training and beaten one of the best jockeys I’ve ever ridden against. My wife and son watching at home will be so proud.”
“It was a tight one, the last time I got in a photo with Ruby it was Imperial Commander against Kauto Star. I thought I’d got there then but I hadn’t. But today he said to me I’d won.
“I’m not going to lie and say there was loads there, I got to the bottom of the tank but if any man is going to get him back in that sort of form for the Gold Cup it’s Colin Tizzard. For people that say he doesn’t stay, he stayed right to the line to get there.”
Brennan has forged a superb partnership with Cue Card who is unbeaten in three starts this season after successes in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase and the Grade 1 Betfair Chase.
The Betfair and King George are the first two legs of the £1million Chase Triple Crown which culminates for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, which trainer Colin Tizzard on Sunday said would be his stable star’s next race.
“To see Cue Card win the King George like that was beyond belief really.” Tizzard said.
“He had a hard race and he has had three races quite quickly now. There is eleven odd weeks until Cheltenham so we’re going to head straight there.”
“The bonus I thought was an impossible task but we are another step closer to it,” the trainer said to At The Races on Sunday. “It would be fantastic, but just to win the King George and Gold Cup is more than enough – it would be something I would live on for the rest of my life anyway.
“This is a completely different horse now. He was off the bridle down the back straight but he got into the race without doing too much – he looks a proper three mile chaser – there is no doubt he definitely stays.
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.