Cue Card ready to make amends in King George
Cue Card is poised to make it fourth time lucky and be rewarded for his admirable longevity with victory in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton tomorrow.
Colin Tizzard's charge has bounced back from more than one setback in the past, but appears to be better than ever this term after undergoing surgery on a trapped epiglottis last term.
The nine-year-old was treated for the breathing issue following his fifth place in last season's King George, when he looked primed to challenge only to fade dramatically in the closing stages, with his hindered airways possibly contributing to that defeat.
He was perhaps not quite at his best when clashing with the reopposing Don Cossack at Aintree in April, but two victories this term, including his impressive success in the Betfair Chase last time out, show that he has lost none of his ability.
Cue Card easily accounted for Silviniaco Conti at Haydock and while this track is something of a favourite for the latter horse, he has not looked to be up to his best this term.
Possible better ground is a plus for Cue Card and with few doubts about his ability to see out three miles now, Paddy Brennan can steer him to festive success in a thrilling renewal.
Native River can make it a red-letter day for the Tizzard team with victory in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase. He stepped up on an impressive Exeter win to give 7lb and a beating to Un Temps Pour Tout in a Newbury Grade Two last time out.
Chasing seems to have brought out the best in Native River and it will be disappointing if he is not in the shake-up.