Cue Card among seven in Betfair Ascot Chase
Last Updated: 12/02/18 1:50pm
Cue Card is on course to bid for a third victory in the Betfair Ascot Chase at the Berkshire track on Saturday.
Colin Tizzard's stable favourite lifted the prize 12 months ago - four years on from his first success in the Grade One contest.
Now aged 12, Cue Card may be coming towards the end of what has been a glittering career, but connections still feel he has the ability to play his part in another big race.
He has not run since finishing a distant second to Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.
Tizzard's son and assistant, Joe, said: "He has had a nice break and schooled beautifully on Wednesday morning. He seems in the best form he has been all season. He really is in good nick.
"We haven't written him off by any stretch of the imagination, so we are looking forward to running him. I don't think there was anything wrong with the Haydock run. On different days different horses win those top-class races.
"Bristol De Mai was perhaps unbeatable on that day (at Haydock) and it is a bit different when you go elsewhere. I still think he has got another big day in him.
"It is not an easy race on Saturday compared to last year. It looks a decent race, but he is still a very good horse on his day."
Cue Card will faces a maximum of six rivals in what is shaping up to be a cracking renewal.
Heading the opposition is Nicky Henderson's Top Notch, a course and distance winner in November and successful in the Peterborough Chase on his latest start.
Waiting Patiently has looked good in winning all his four races over fences to date and it would be a poignant triumph should he strike for Ruth Jefferson, who recently took over the running of the family stable in North Yorkshire on the death of her father, Malcolm.
Irish interests are represented by the Eddie Harty-trained Gold Cup possible Coney Island, who warmed up for a crack at this race with a smooth victory over the course and distance last month.
Nigel Hawke's Speredek and the Gary Moore-trained Traffic Fluide also stand their ground, as does Paul Nicholls' Frodon after what was a superb weight-carrying performance when successful at Cheltenham last time out.
Rising star Bryony Frost was aboard Frodon for his Cheltenham success, as well as when he finished second at Ascot on his penultimate start, and could again be in the hot seat this weekend.
Nicholls said: "Paul (Vogt, owner) is away at the moment and there are three meetings on Saturday and I just want to have a look.
"I will see what Sam (Twiston-Davies) has elsewhere, but it is quite possible Bryony will ride him as she ridden him the last twice and and he has run really well for her.
"I want to talk to Sam as he has won on him, she has won on him and Harry (Cobden) has won on him. They have all done well on him, but he did go particularly well for her the last day and she probably deserves to ride him.
"I just want to look at the other meetings first and see. She hasn't been able to claim on Black Corton in some of those novice chases and that (not being able to claim) doesn't bother me at all."