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 at their Westcountry dairy farm.
“I rode him out the other morning and he’s in cracking form,” said the retired rider, who received a Lester at this week’s Professional Jockeys Association Awards in recognition of his career.
“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.”
The winner of the 2013 Betfair Chase, Cue Card was fourth to Silviniaco Conti in this year’s renewal.
Noel Fehily rides Silviniaco Conti and is expecting another big performance as trainer Paul Nicholls seeks a record ninth King George.
Though owner John Hales believes the Nicholls-trained Al Ferof is the forgotten horse, Fehily maintains that Silviniaco Conti is a deserved 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.”