COLIN Tizzard has nominated the Betfair Chase at Haydock as an early-season target for his stable star Cue Card.
The six-year-old shot to pro-minence with an incredible performance in the 2010 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and he has continued to impress over hurdles and fences for the past two seasons.
He was last seen chasing home the all-conquering Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle Trophy over two miles, but the Milborne Port handler can see his charge stepping up to staying trips this season, possibly tackling three miles for the first time on Merseyside on November 24.
Tizzard said: “The plan with him is to start off at Kempton in a graduation chase and then we’ll see where we go from there.
“I would say the Paddy Power Gold Cup is unlikely as he’s rated 157 and carrying top-weight in a 20-runner handicap round Cheltenham doesn’t really appeal to me.
“I think we could step up to three miles at Haydock. Things might change in the next few weeks, but that’s the way we’re looking at the moment.
“He’s a really athletic horse, he looks almost fit enough to run. I think we are going to end up going over three miles with him. There is huge prize-money on offer in those top races and this could be the season to have a go.
“If we go to Kempton and then Haydock, then we’ll know where we are around Chris-tmas time. We might have to come back in trip, we might not.”
Another of Tizzard’s leading lights is proven stayer Hey Big Spender, who won the Classic Chase at Warwick in January but missed the end of the season after suffering a setback.
Tizzard added: “He had a small injury but he’s been back in about three weeks and will hopefully be ready to run in the middle of December.
He’s rated 157 as well so we might have to run in conditions races later on, although he’ll probably get an entry in the Welsh National.
“He loves proper winter ground and is a proper stayer, so some of those big races in Ireland might be tempting.
“Then there is Grand National to consider later on, so we’ll see.”