Tizzards admit tactical error and will leave it to Brennan next time
Leave it to Paddy Brennan. That will be Colin Tizzard's advice to himself when Saturday's Charlie Hall Chase third Cue Card lines up next time at Haydock for the Betfair Chase.
Cue Card was odds-on to repeat last year's win in the Wetherby Grade 2 and traded much shorter in running after going on towards the end of the back straight.
However, with hindsight Tizzard wishes he and son Joe had not encouraged jockey Brennan to kick on so far out, as the ten-year-old had a fight on his hands all the way up the home straight and was beaten three and a quarter lengths into third by the younger, race-fit Irish Cavalier, to whom he was conceding 4lb.
Tizzard confessed: "We'd have sat second or third like the others with hindsight, but we'd talked it all through and me and Joe were both very keen Paddy kicked on, so we must take the blame.
"We both felt strongly it was the right thing to do, and now we wish we hadn't. We'll leave it to Paddy next time. It wasn't his fault at all, but it's better it happened first time out in the Charlie Hall than in the Betfair Chase or King George, or something like that."
'We weren't beaten far'
Tizzard doesn’t think Cue Card ran a bad race anyway, and is delighted with how he has come out of it.
He continued: "We weren't beaten far and the two who beat us were trained to the minute.
"We want to be at the top of our game for the next five or six races, not first time out, and he wasn't far off his form. In fact someone is telling me that if you work it out through Racing Post Ratings he probably ran better in third this year than he did when winning a year ago. He had a good blow after, and he'll be spot on for the Betfair Chase."
Tizzard was delighted with the Hennessy Gold Cup prep enjoyed by his Grade 1 chase winner Native River in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, in which he was second to the much-more-highly-rated Silsol.
"He spent a fair bit of time in the air and it was a good, solid performance. If he does the same sort of thing at Newbury he'll take all the beating.”
Cue Card is likely to face a rematch with Irish Cavalier in the Betfair Chase, although Rebecca Curtis warns that Saturday's shock winner needs the right ground and would not go there if it were too testing. Kempton's 32Red King George VI Chase, also won last year by Cue Card, will be on the agenda too.
She said: "We're thinking about the Betfair Chase, but he's a bit ground-dependent and it can get very soft at Haydock. On good to soft or better we'd definitely be thinking about it, and at Kempton you usually get decent ground.
"He's always buzzing after his races, as they don't seem to take too much out of him, and he’s come back from Wetherby absolutely perfect, but I suppose his next race will be the proper test."
Minor wind operation
Curtis also had news of West Yorkshire Hurdle fourth The Romford Pele, who will now have a minor wind operation.
She said: "He ran an absolute blinder and I thought he was going to win, but Jonathan [Moore] heard a bit of a gurgle over the last two hurdles, so we might get his palate fired now and see if that helps. It's a simple procedure and he'll just need a quiet week afterwards. He won't be out for long."
The Betfair Chase could also be on the agenda for Charlie Hall runner-up Menorah, whose trainer Philip Hobbs said: "It will all depend on the weather as, even at Wetherby, the watered ground was a bit dead for him. But if it stays good why not have a crack at the Betfair Chase, as there is massive place money?
"There's also a Grade 2 at Aintree in December and then at some stage he'll be put away for the spring, when he'll come back to have another go in Sandown's bet365 Oaksey Chase, which he’s won for the last three years."