Thistlecrack and Cue Card after the King George
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
CUE CARD, revitalised when storming home in Saturday’s Ascot Chase, is the chief threat to Thistlecrack in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, the market leader’s jockey Tom Scudamore said on Sunday.
Cue Card is only 6-1 third favourite for the festival centrepiece, but Scudamore believes he is a bigger danger than Colin Tizzard’s other big player, the general 4-1 second favourite Native River.
Scudamore has never hidden his admiration for Thistlecrack, who brushed aside his Tizzard-trained stablemate Cue Card in the King George and heads the Gold Cup market at a general 7-4, despite defeat against the ill-fated Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase last month.
The jockey, who has not sat on Thistlecrack since the Cotswold Chase but hopes to be reacquainted in the next week or so, said: “Native River keeps on winning but I don’t think the Denman Chase is as strong form as his previous two victories in the Hennessy and Welsh National. The second Le Mercurey has his level and is rated only 151, while Bristol De Mai ran below form.
“He can do no more than win and he was going away from them at the end, but I’d take that form with a pinch of salt. He is unbeaten this season and deserves his place near the top of the market, but I was more impressed with Cue Card.
“It’s never easy winning a Grade 1, and the further he’s gone at Ascot the better he’s gone – he’s ended up trouncing them. He won as he was entitled to, but it was a mighty performance. Round two is going to be interesting. You’ve got to respect them all, but I see Cue Card as my main danger.”
Read more from Tom Scudamore on his big spring rides, only in Monday’s Racing Post. Try it on iPad
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