Rarely, if ever, have I loved a horse that’s lost me money as much as I love Cue Card. True, I backed him to win in 2013 in what had became known as the good old days for the gelding. But I lost on him in 2014 when he failed to win in five outings.
That was why I did not back him to win the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby at the end of October 2015. I feared he might be a back number. But on Saturday he proved he’s not.
Cue Card is back to his best. He may be better.
I did not have a bet in the Betfair Chase. Those who took the 3/1 for Cue Card to win were wise. He won easily and in great style. I was, frankly, astonished by how easily he beat Silviniaco Conti. Cue Card had plenty left in the tank when winning by seven lengths. In the hands of the ever professional jockey Paddy Brennan, Cue Card fairly sauntered to victory.
Horse and jockey now go forward to take part in a King George VI Chase at Kempton Park that looks like being a feast of plenty on Boxing Day. An all star cast is expected to start the race. It will be the tastiest dish I savour over Christmas.
The menu for the King George as of November 22nd includes not only Cue Card, but Vautour, Coneygree, Don Cossack, Saphir Du Rheu, Silviniaco Conti, Don Poli, Djakadam, Ptit Zig…. the list goes on. Clearly not every horse currently entered for the race will arrive at Kempton. But I suspect the best handful will. It’s going to be a must watch race.
Cue Card is currently best price 5/1 to win that race, and as big as 14/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. If he managed to win those two big races his connections would win a bonus prize of £1 Million. Yes, a million quid.
His trainer, the charmingly understated Colin Tizzard, says that Cue Card will go to Kempton on Boxing Day and that were he still in the same form in March that he’s in now, they would have to give him a go in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. “Why not?” said Tizzard.
Why not indeed? That’s what racing at its best is all about. The best horses turning up to race.
It is what makes the jumps season special. When horses that appear to have lost their form during one season, bounce back the next. And when trainers not blessed with rich owners, men as humble and nice as Tizzard, get their skilled hands on a great thoroughbred racehorse.
For Cue Card is now precisely that.