JOE Tizzard believes Cue Card heads for the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in better shape than he was 12 months ago.
Cue Card was second to Silviniaco Conti in the Christmas showpiece when partnered by Tizzard after looking all over the winner.
Tizzard has since retired from race-riding and is assistant trainer to his father Colin.
“I rode him out the other morning and he’s in cracking form,” said the retired jockey.
“We’re going there with no pressure either. It’s a hot race, every race he runs in is a hot race. The forecast looks good and he’s going to get nicer ground than at Haydock.
“He bounces off the better ground over the longer trip. Kempton ground will be lovely, I think.
“He’s in better form than he was going into the race last year. He blew hard after Haydock and he’s come on for the run.
“He gave me a lovely feel when I rode him out and I’m really pleased with him.”
Cue Card was fourth to Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase at Haydock which he had won last November.
Noel Fehily was in the saddle that day and he is expecting another big performance from Silviniaco Conti who is 5-2 ante-post favourite.
“I was very impressed with him at Haydock in the Betfair,” said the jockey.
“Paul Nicholls has been very happy with him since and he thinks he has him in the form on his life, so we are very positive going into the race and looking forward to it.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s action, Michael Scudamore is waiting to see if his brother Tom will be free to ride 2012 Coral Welsh Grand National winner Monbeg Dude in this year’s renewal at Chepstow.
Tom Scudamore could be required to ride Amigo for his boss David Pipe and if that is the case, his elder brother will be on the lookout for a replacement.
Paul Carberry was on board two years ago when he delivered Monbeg Dude with one of the rides of the season, while Paul Moloney was in the plate last time out when he finished a very credible fourth in the Hennessy, although he is likely to be required by Evan Williams for One In A Milan.
“We’re waiting to hear back on a few things,” said Scudamore.
“We’ve been very lucky, we’ve had Paul Carberry and my brother ride him and then Paul Moloney in the Hennessy, so we’re waiting to hear what David Pipe’s plans are.
“He’s got one entry but I’m not sure what his plans are yet.”
Monbeg Dude finished seventh behind Pineau De Re in the Grand National at Aintree last season and another tilt could be likely. Scudamore added: “We’ll have to see how Chepstow goes and then sit down and plan where we go from there. Everything suggests he’s a National horse, he’s jumped around the course before.”
Another former winner, Richard Lee’s Mountainous, is also on target for a repeat bid.
“Mountainous is very well,” said Kerry Lee, trainer Richard Lee’s daughter and assistant.
“He’s going to do his final piece of work on Tuesday.
“He’s in great form and we were very happy with his run in the Trial at Chepstow, so it’s all systems go.”
On Monday, John Ferguson has confirmed Parlour Games as an intended runner in the Betfred Goals Galore Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.
The six-year-old beat Blaklion in a Cheltenham Grade Two last month and with the runner-up having since gone on to score at that level in impressive style back at Prestbury Park, Ferguson is now raising his sights to the highest level.
He tweeted: “Parlour Games, working well, runs in the Grade One Challow Hurdle on December 29 at Newbury.”
Ferguson also revealed plans to target the Betfair Hurdle with Pine Creek, who finished second in the Ladbroke at Ascot on Saturday.
He added: “Pine Creek home safe and sound. The Betfair Hurdle at Newbury looks the next logical step.”