Sensational Cue Card thumps opposition in Ascot Chase

Cue Card and Paddy Brennan stylishly jump another fence

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( Sensational Cue Card thumps Ascot Chase field By David Milnes 3:53PM 18 FEB 2017

Report: Ascot, Saturday

Betfair Ascot Chase (Grade 1) 2m5f, 5yo+

CUE CARD looked back to his best with a commanding performance to win the chasing feature for the second time in four years.

Front-runner Royal Regatta, the eventual third, did his best to sink the 4-9 favourite but the game was up when he hit the second last and Paddy Brennan allowed Cue Card to coast clear to score by 15 lengths

Colin Tizzard's popular 11-year-old was cut to 6-1 (from 8) by Paddy Power for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup following his romp in which he was chased home by outsider Shantou Flyer.

Looking in prime shape beforehand, Cue Card was content to take a lead in the early exchanges from Royal Regatta, but the race turned into a duel on the last circuit until the King George VI Chase runner-up asserted in the straight.

The winner was landing his ninth Grade 1 win and claimed this contest four years after notching his first when he was no less dominant.

Afterwards, a delighted Tizzard said: "It was lovely to see. The pressure builds up every time he runs because we have a responsibility to him. He's as good as he's ever been and the race was made for him today. He's been about a long time and he's a favourite for all of us. "

Brennan was just as ecstatic, and said: "It was a good performance and the ground is really dead so it's hard to gauge your pace. I looked around at the last and thought I was three lengths clear and I was 20 lengths clear, and that's what sort of a horse he is. It was on the sharp side for him and I had to wake him up but he came alive. He's changed my life the last couple of years."

Rebecca Curtis, trainer of runner-up Shantou Flyer, said: "I hoped he would run well today. He is such a tough little horse. He's probably crying out for a step up in trip he stays so well. We will keep him fresh for the National, he won't run again. He gets 11st in that so I am glad we ran him after the weights were out."

More to follow. . .

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