Turf Talk: Experience key to Cue Card’s edge over stablemate Thistlecrack

Cue Card ridden by Paddy Brennan.
Cue Card ridden by Paddy Brennan.
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Experience counts for a lot in life and with that in mind Cue Card is taken to see off his younger stablemate Thistlecrack in a Christmas cracker of a 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Winner of the race 12 months ago when he nailed the ill-fated Vautour as the line loomed, he was only denied a £1million bonus when falling in the Gold Cup when apparently still full of running.

Cue Card has a huge fan club, partly because of his longevity – it might even be forgotten he won the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham as a 40-1 chance in 2010 – and while for a spell some considered him an underachiever, a look at his record now puts any notion of that to bed.

Winner of 15 of his 33 races, eight of those at the highest level, he numbers victories over the likes of Long Run and Al Ferof, both of whom are now retired.

With well over seven figures earned in prize money, he certainly owes his connections nothing and in fact looked at least as good as ever when winning a third Betfair Chase at Haydock last month.

Coneygree, who was admittedly having his first race for a year, could not live with him and the only nagging doubt is that he appears to handle very deep ground so well these days and he will not have it to suit here. Exciting novice Thistlecrack might be the one to be on in March, but he has yet to prove he can do it on a sharp track, going flat out and jumping at top speed, so with nothing between them in the betting, Cue Card rates the safer conveyance.


FONTWELL: 12.05 Mrs Burbidge, 12.35 Rainbow Dreamer, 1.10 Westerbee, 1.45 Mercian King, 2.15 Divine Spear, 2.50 Happy Diva, 3.25 Leith Hill Legasi,

HUNTINGDON: 12.15 Letemgo, 12.45 Rather Be, 1.20 Knight’s Reward, 1.55 Periquest, 2.30 Movie Legend, 3.05 Kapgarde King, 3.40 Linenhall.

KEMPTON: 12.55 Jenkins, 1.30 Max Ward, 2.05 Anibale Fly (next best), 2.40 Yanworth, 3.15 CUE CARD (NAP), 3.45 Ormessa Has.

MARKET RASEN: 12.00 Winning Ticket, 12.35 London Prize, 1.10 Un Anjou, 1.45 Vinnie Red, 2.20 Grove Silver, 2.55 The Pierre Lark, 3.30 Cobra De Mai.

SEDGEFIELD: 12.00 Hi Bob, 12.30 Cousin Oscar, 1.05 Dubai Angel, 1.40 Attimo, 2.10 Shy, 2.45 Hag Stone, 3.20 Helmsley Lad.

WETHERBY: 12.10 The Nipper, 12.40 Lime Street, 1.15 Ballycash, 1.50 Henri Parry Morgan, 2.25 Lough Salt, 3.00 Lyvius, 3.35 Groovejet.

WINCANTON: 12.30 Sister Sibyl, 1.05 Dusky Lark, 1.40 Tikkapick, 2.15 Mr Mix, 2.50 Desert Queen, 3.25 Ardkilly Witness, 3.55 Lalor.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.00 Heart Locket, 1.35 Hochfeld, 2.05 Tivra, 2.35 Kay Sera, 3.10 Percy’s Lass, 3.45 Mythical Madness, 4.15 Final Venture, 4.45 Ravenhoe.