It is hard to look beyond Cue Card winning a second Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday.
Whatever his current crop of stable stars go on to achieve, Colin Tizzard will always have a place in his heart for Cue Card, who really put him on the map when winning the Champion Bumper as a four-year-old in 2010 at 40-1.
It is a credit to both Tizzard and the horse that he is still one of the highest-rated in training at 11 years of age and he added another Grade One to his record as recently as November. No match for stablemate Thistlecrack in the King George, he probably found the ground lively enough at Kempton and to be fair he did stay on again in the straight to only be beaten a little over three lengths.
That may have flattered him, but he still beat the rest and even though this trip is short of his best these days, he is so far clear of the opposition in terms of ability it should not matter too much. Four years ago when he beat Captain Chris in this race he went on to win the Ryanair a month later, but this year that repeat is not on as he only has the Gold Cup as an option at Cheltenham.
Unfortunately his best chance of winning that may have been last year when heartbreakingly he was a late faller, but there are still plenty of good prizes to be won with him.
The Sodexho Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase looks a fine opportunity for Charlie Longsdon’s Our Kaempfer.
Longsdon had mooted sending him straight to Cheltenham, but this looks a weak Grade Two and connections obviously saw the benefit of having another run before the Festival. Even defeat would not be the end of his Festival hopes given both Ballyalton and Minella Rocco failed to win 12 months ago but were successful at Cheltenham when it mattered more.
Blaklion can continue the incredible recent run of Saturday success for Nigel Twiston-Davies in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock.
ASCOT: 1.15 Beyond Conceit, 1.50 Our Kaempfer, 2.25 Yala Enki, 3.00 Tommy Silver, 3.35 CUE CARD (NAP), 4.10 Debece, 4.45 Cadeaux’s Fire.
HAYDOCK: 1.30 Most Celebrated, 2.05 Agrapart, 2.40 Theo’s Charm, 3.15 Blaklion, 3.50 The Worlds End, 4.20 Uncle Danny, 4.5 Bear’s Affair.
KEMPTON: 5.45 Tulip Dress, 6.15 Al Sail, 6.45 Vimy Ridge, 7.15 Hairdryer, 7.45 Summer Icon, 8.15 Swot, 8.45 Scribner Creek, 9.15 Spin Top.
LINGFIELD: 1.10 First Moon, 1.45 Whaleweigh Station, 2.20 Just Us Two, 2.55 Final, 3.30 Fast Track, 4.05 Mercers, 4.40 Dynamo.
WINCANTON: 1.40 He’s A Bully, 2.15 Bishops Court, 2.45 Yanworth (next best), 3.20 Alibi De Sivola, 3.55 Starchitect, 4.30 Asockastar, 5.05 Sir Antony Browne.