Top Notch heads seven entries for Betfair Ascot Chase
Last Updated: 15/02/18 5:12pm
Colin Tizzard believes Paddy Brennan was the "obvious choice" to ride Cue Card in Saturday's Betfair Ascot Chase.
Brennan was Cue Card's partner for 13 consecutive races before Tizzard chose to replace him with Harry Cobden following two falls in three races.
Cobden steered the popular veteran to finish a distant second behind Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, but is required by his boss Paul Nicholls to ride Cliffs Of Dover in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday and as a result Brennan has been recalled.
"At the end of the day we made the decision we were going to try Harry on him and Harry's not available (for Saturday). What else do we do?" Tizzard told At The Races.
"Paddy has won some lovely races on him and he knows him. He was the obvious choice.
"Paddy was down (in the yard) this morning. We wanted to jump him on the grass, but it was too wet, so he jumped two hurdles and four fences and it was absolute poetry to watch.
"We had to calm Paddy down a little bit as he was so excited to be back on him. It was just fun this morning watching them jump as the horse was so enthusiastic."
Brennan is understandably delighted to be reunited with Cue Card, a dual winner of this race.
"Obviously, I am thrilled to get the ride back on Cue Card at Ascot on Saturday, and I can tell you that he felt as fresh and well as he has ever done when I schooled him this morning," he said in his 32Red blog.
"I know there were a few names in the hat to ride him this weekend, but I think it speaks volumes about Colin Tizzard that he has put me back on the horse after taking me off.
"Not many owners and trainers have done that before with me, I can tell you, and it shows the people that Jean (Bishop, owner) and Colin are.
"So, of course, I am delighted that things have come back my way and I can tell you - and this is genuine - that Cue Card really did feel as good, if not better, than he did when going into this race last year when I sat on him this morning.
"He felt so, so well."
Seven horses are set to contest the Grade One after there were no withdrawals at the final declaration stage.
Nicky Henderson's Top Notch is at the head of the betting on the strength of his Peterborough Chase win. He is also a winner at Grade Two level over the same course and distance he faces this weekend.
Waiting Patiently takes his chance for Ruth Jefferson and he is unbeaten in five starts over fences, including a defeat of Tingle Creek scorer Politologue.
Coney Island is the big Irish hope for Eddie Harty and JP McManus. He was a winner at Ascot last time out but his best effort came when just being touched off by Our Duke in a Grade One last Christmas.
Paul Nicholls and Bryony Frost team up with Frodon, while Clarence House runner-up Speredek is not out of it over this extended trip.
Gary Moore's Traffic Fluide, who finished third in the Melling Chase last year, is the outsider of the field.