Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card will only run in the Queen Mother Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next week if the favourite, Sprinter Sacre, doesn’t run.
It looks as though Nicky Henderson’s charge is on course to run this two mile event though and Tizzard clearly doesn’t see much point in his talented chaser going up against one of the world’s best on Wednesday afternoon.
Sprinter Sacre has won seven races out of seven over fences and is going to be heavily backed to win the Queen Mother Chase. If you are looking for Sprinter Sacre odds, he is 1/4 to win this race over at BetVictor, so the bookies clearly don’t think anyone is going to challenge him here.
Tizzard realises that as well and he is likely to send Cue Card into the Ryanair Chase, where is will be a big contender to win the encounter.
He is currently the 7/2 favourite to win the Ryanair Chase and although the encounter is not as prestigious as the Queen Mother Chase, a win at Cheltenham is always special and in truth, the trainer might be wise to avoid Sprinter Sacre.
Cue Card was last seen winning at Ascot last month and he is more than capable of claiming another victory at the Festival next week.
He was down in fifth position in the King George VI on Boxing Day at Kempton, so although he is talented, he does struggle in the big races against some of the best chasers around.
Tizzard will be fully aware of his recent form and clearly feels that Cue Card will benefit from winning a race, rather than watching Sprinter Sacre storm to victory once more.
Of course, it is going to be tough for Cue Card to win here and he is far from guaranteed to grab the headlines as there are a number of talented horses involved.
You have the likes of First Lieutenant, who is available at 4/1, and then Riverside Theatre and Sizing Europe at 6/1. Champion Court and Menorah are at 8/1, so it is a race that is wide open at this stage.
One thing does seem certain, Cue Card has a much better chance here than in the Queen Mother Chase.