Brennan’s faith in ‘unique’ Cue Card
Paddy Brennan says he has no doubt in his mind that Cue Card can win this season's Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup – and he simply can't wait to take on stablemate Thistlecrack, whenever that might be!
Paddy Brennan and Cue Card celebrate success at Haydock.
Cue Card's jockey said after the recent Betfair Chase success of his horse over Coneygree at Haydock that his mount felt as good as ever, and the rider, who is enjoying a fine season with an impressive 25% strike-rate, was in no mood for backing down when talking to Matt Chapman on On The Line on At The Races on Monday evening.
"Honestly, I genuinely do believe that, as I said at Haydock, he felt like he's at his very best and feels like he's getting better," he said, "He's unique. You cannot say he's not at his best, okay, at the age of 10. I do still think there's a massive performance still in him.
"Obviously races are going to get tougher but I have no doubt in my mind that he can win a Gold Cup at the age of 11."
Cue Card's next appearance is set to come in the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, the next step towards the £1million bonus offered by Jockey Club Racecourses for any horse winning that race, the Betfair Chase and the Gold Cup.
It was at the third-last fence of the Gold Cup last season that Cue Card's pursuit of that bonus came to an end when he crashed out of contention, and Brennan spoke starkly when asked to describe how he'd felt after that race.
"Obviously, it's a difficult one, isn't it?" he said. "It's the biggest possible stage and you end up on the floor. Like anything, you dwell on it a bit. You've just got to be strong. The most important single thing on my mind that day was that the horse got up. If he didn't it wouldn't have been a real disaster. That's the one thing I could take as a real positive.
"Honestly, the only way to describe that day is by coming home to your house, opening your bedroom and seeing your missus in bed with your best mate. That's basically how hard it was. There's no other way to describe that emotion, that feeling.
"It was that sinking feeling. I just felt sick. But as I say the most important thing is that he lived to fight another day. But there's no point looking back – nobody really cares about yesterday.
"I didn't win, I ended up on the floor. That's what the game is. That's jumps racing. But my opinion is that I think I was on the best horse at the time."
Among the horses potentially standing in the way of Cue Card making amends 12 months on is his stablemate Thistlecrack, the mount of Tom Scudamore. The pair are set to meet in the Gold Cup or potentially even before then in the King George. But whenever that meeting takes place, Brennan – like every fan of jumps racing – says he just can't wait to see what the challenger is made of.
"Like anybody, you cannot be but impressed with Thistlecrack and obviously Tom Scu's face and expression says it all what he thinks of the horse," he went on. "Even if I wasn't riding Cue Card against Thistlecrack, I cannot wait until the day I get to the start and he's in the race because we ain't gonna find out 'til that happens. It will be one hell of a race and it will be a brilliant occasion that I'm very much up for. I cannot wait, honestly, to get them on the track. When that's going to happen, who knows?
"You cannot help but be taken and extremely impressed by Thistlecrack. If he can come past me like he's going past novices at the moment on the bridle then I will never have ridden or seen anything like it in my life.
"Only time will tell. He's got to step up into the company of Cue Card. I'm not sure what's going to happen in the King George but obviouslyy in the Gold Cup. It's a different ball game. A novice chase and a Gold Cup – there's absolutely no comparison. There's no hiding place. He's probably got to prove that he can do that.
"Has he got the ability? Of course he has. He's an unbelievable racehorse."
It's Thistlecrack who heads Sky Bet's ante-post market for the Gold Cup, though, as the 3/1 favourite, with Cue Card a 6/1 chance.
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