HORSE RACING: Cue Card to head a top-class field in King George VI Chase

Dorset Echo: KEMPTON TEST: Cue Card KEMPTON TEST: Cue Card

COLIN Tizzard’s Cue Card heads the betting for the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day (3.10pm).

The Milborne Port handler’s charge – the classy winner of last month’s Betfair Chase at Haydock – is trained on the dairy farm of Tizzard and ridden by his son, jockey Joe Tizzard.

Speaking ahead of the race, Tizzard Snr was in a typically confident mood: “He’s always been a good horse from day one. Cue Card will win by five lengths.”

Cue Card is joined at the head of the market by Dynaste for trainer David Pipe, who was runner-up to Cue Card at Haydock.

The William Hill King George is a race where the betting is usually a very good guide, with the favourite winning in seven of the last nine years.

This year, with the top four horses in the betting all well-supported with Christmas cash, William Hill’s Jon Ivan-Duke said: “After years of domination by the favourites this looks a race for any horse’s taking – with class horses through the order.”

The Tizzards are trying to play down a scare over some of his horses suffering from a virus, which they admitted on a recent press visit to his stable.

Their big name horse was also unable to manage better than third when attempting to retain Exeter’s Haldon Gold Cup on his reappearance.

Cue Card was given a try over three miles for the first time in last year’s King George, but he finished a lacklustre fifth, beaten 20 lengths.

“We’re absolutely delighted with him and he came out of the Haydock race very well,” said Tizzard snr.

Paul Nicholls, trainer of the five-times King George hero Kauto Star, has two major contenders this time around.

Al Ferof made a winning return from over a year off the track in the Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot and will be ridden by Daryl Jacob, while stable companion and Betfair Chase third Silviniaco Conti is also in the field and is the mount of Noel Fehily.

Nicholls’ great rival, Nicky Henderson, saddles dual King George winner Long Run and recent Peterborough Chase hero Riverside Theatre.

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