Cue Card came into Saturday in tip top form and as good as connections had seen him. The day started off brightly for the Tizzards with Quite By Chance routing his rivals in the Listed Chase at Ascot, before Native River went close in the Grade Two Bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby. It was then down to Cue Card to round off the day with a bang and the market had him the well fancied odds-on favourite. He didn’t quite looks his usual smooth self and looked in danger about three out as Dynaste heaped on the pressure. Although not the be all and end all, you’d have to be concerned for the Tizzard’s chasing star as Irish Cavalier and Menorah left Cue Card looking far from last season’s best. Haydock will ultimately be the judge of where he stands, and Paddy Brennan getting some stick today for his tactics we really don’t understand… When has Cue Card not been raced like that?
3 35 ANTONY (G Moore) 11/1, Grade 3 H’Cap Chase, 3M, Good (Good To Firm)
The race of the day at Ascot went the way of the Moore double act and has got the pair dreaming of the National. While there are still considerable obstacles still in the way, a couple more runs like this at Ascot today wouldn’t put him far off a mark of the 145 needed to scrape into the big race. He raced off the basement mark today which is always a help, but he was an eye catcher for much of the race – travelling and jumping beautifully, looking the winner a long way out. Much of his best form has come on good ground which could scupper plans for a charge at Aintree. Nonetheless, he certainly is a stayer on the up and couldn’t have done anymore in winning at Ascot today.