Joe keeps the faith with Cue

RIGHT ON CUE: Joe Tizzard on board Cue Card at Exeter, on their way to victory in the sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup Chase last November

RIGHT ON CUE: Joe Tizzard on board Cue Card at Exeter, on their way to victory in the sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup Chase last November

First published in Sport

JOE Tizzard has lost no faith in Cue Card despite him failing to stay the three miles of the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.

A drop back in trip is certain for the seven-year-old, trained by the jump jockey’s father Colin at Milborne Port, near Sherborne, with his next run pencilled in for next month after he finished fifth behind Long Run on Boxing Day.

The two-mile-five-furlong Ryanair Chase, for which he is a general 6-1 chance, is the most likely target at the Cheltenham Festival, although Tizzard junior has not ruled out the Queen Mother Champion Chase over two miles should the ground be soft.

He said: “He had a hard race at Kempton like they all did. It rode a decent race, a real test of stamina and he’s come out of it fine.

“He’ll have a run at the beginning of February. There are no plans as such yet, but he’ll have a run then and go straight to Cheltenham.

“I don’t think he’ll go back up to three miles, but before the Arkle last year I thought two miles was his trip on softer ground all through Christmas time, but then after that I thought we should probably go further.

“If the ground ends up goodish at Cheltenham, he’ll most likely run in the Ryanair but if it came up softer, he could possibly drop back for the Queen Mother.

“Over two miles and two and a quarter you can ride him real positive, but there is no way you could have done that at Kempton. On better ground we might try the trip again.

“I haven’t changed my opinion of him just because he didn’t get the trip in the King George. At Exeter (in the Haldon Gold Cup), he was awesome that day.

“I like to ride him positive, sending him on and use his jumping and his stride.

“It’s a pity to waste that speed he’s got over a longer trip, hence we’re dropping him back.”

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