While many Cheltenham Festival jockey bookings are up in the air, one thing is for sure. Barring accident or injury, Paddy Brennan will be aboard Cue Card for the Gold Cup on Friday March 17th.
Brennan knows what it’s like to win a Gold Cup. I was there in 2010 to see him ride Imperial Commander to victory. But Cue Card is number one for the Galway born jockey.
“Cue Card has changed everything,” says Paddy. “That one horse you didn’t have before makes all the difference. He’s just what I’ve been looking for.”
Paddy Brennan and Cue Card are mates. The jockey recalls a performance at Haydock Park in 2015 when Cue Card won the Betfair Chase by seven lengths.
He says: “It was an awesome performance, probably the most impressive I’ve ever been involved in. It just blew me away. My first thought was ‘Jesus, this horse could win a Gold Cup’.
“Meeting Cue Card was like meeting my wife for the first time – he made an instant impression on me. When I rode Imperial Commander, a lot of good judges were telling me he wouldn’t stay but I was a million per cent sure he would, and I’m the same about Cue Card.”
Paddy Brennan is a jockey I have a lot of time for. He’s had an up and down career and blotted his copybook once or twice in the past. But all that is a distant memory. He’s earned the respect of other jockeys and trainers like Colin Tizzard, who has both Cue Card and Native River in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 17th – Paddy’s Day.
Cue Card is 11 years of age now and it is a long time since a horse of that age won a Gold Cup. This might be the last big race for the gelding. His jockey is relishing the opportunity to prove that age is just a number.
Paddy Brennan says: “I certainly won’t be retiring before Cue Card does.”
Back in April of 2016, Cue Card was available at odds of 11/1 for the 2017 Gold Cup. I placed an each way bet on him at that price. With the absence of stablemate Thistlecrack, he’s currently the 3/1 favourite to win the race.
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