CUE Card will run in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, trained Colin Tizzard has announced.
The popular 12-year-old has fallen in the last two renewals of the Cheltenham Gold Cup over three-and-a-quarter miles.
However, he won the two-mile-five-furlong Ryanair in 2013 and returned to form when chasing home Ruth Jefferson’s Waiting Patiently over this trip in the Grade One Ascot Chase just over a week ago.
Though Bishop initially suggested that Cue Card would have a third crack at the Gold Cup before retirement, they have decided that the shorter race offers the best chance of an emotional win despite the field likely to include the Willie Mullins-trained defending champion Un De Sceaux and Waiting Patiently if the ground is soft enough for the Yorkshire challenger.
“We’ve discussed it and we thought he was in very good form over two-five, he has won the Ryanair, and the Gold Cup is a hard race and the best chance of winning is the Ryanair,” said Tizzard.
“It was not a hard decision in the end. Our heads are ruling our hearts and it’s the most obvious race for him and we can concentrate and go straight on into it. He is race fit and if we take that form from here to Cheltenham, we will have a chance. Paddy (Brennan) will be on board.”