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Confidence grows in Cue Card's bid for historic Ascot Chase success

Cue Card: "He schooled really well last week and looks a million dollars" said Joe Tizzard
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Cue Card is showing the right signs to encourage the belief he can become the first three-time winner of the Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday.

The popular Colin Tizzard-trained chaser is set to make his first start as a 12-year-old in a race he won in 2013 and last year, and connections could not be happier with his condition.  

"He looks as well as he's ever done at home and we still think there's another big race in him," said Tizzard's son and assistant Joe on At The Races.

"He's all lined up for Ascot. He has won the race twice before and the track really suits him. It's a more competitive race than it was 12 months ago, but he schooled really well last week and looks a million dollars."

With plenty of strength in depth to the race Cue Card, last seen in action finishing a distant second to Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase, is a general 10-1 chance with Top Notch, Waiting Patiently and Coney Island vying for favouritism.

Fox Norton heads straight to Cheltenham after missing some work

Cue Card will be the sole representative for the Tizzard team in the contest as Fox Norton is heading straight to the Cheltenham Festival.

Tizzard said: "He had a bit of puss in his foot over the weekend and missed two or three days, so he'll head straight to Cheltenham."

Stablemate The Dutchman could also feature in one of Saturday's big races with a return to Haydock for the Betfred Grand National Trial under consideration.

"We'll have a chat with his owner to decide whether he goes back to Haydock or runs in the Eider Chase at Newcastle," said Tizzard.

"We think he has Grand National written all over him but he'll need another run. He's been hammered by the handicapper, going up 13lb, but he was impressive at Haydock."

Tizzard also expressed his delight at Native River's comeback victory in the Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday.

"We were chuffed to bits – it couldn't have gone any better," he added. "He travelled and jumped as well as he's always done and didn't have a ridiculously hard race either.

"All roads lead to the Gold Cup now. Last year was all about the Hennessy and he grew into a Gold Cup horse, whereas this year we've done things differently and it's all about the Gold Cup. We go there with fewer miles on the clock and a fresher horse."

Native River is a best-priced 13-2 with Betfair Sportsbook for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, with only favourite Might Bite (7-2) above him in the betting. 

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He looks as well as he's ever done at home and we still think there's another big race in him
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