Racing UK

Angus McNae

Something For The Weekend: Time to oppose Cue Card

17 February 2017

I have never usually been able to make the correct call when it comes to Cue Card (except in the King George VI Chase when he finished behind Thistlecrack) and I am probably going to be wrong again as far as he is concerned in the Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday.

However, I do think that he is completely unplayable at 4-9 and should be opposed on the exchanges at that price. I also believe that course specialist Royal Regatta represents each way value at 8-1 with William Hill. Here is my reasoning:

1. Cue Card has lost some of his speed. Since his win in the Ryanair at Cheltenham in 2013 the aim has been to stretch out his speed beyond three miles and, now 11, he appears to have lost some of his zip. He was readily outpaced by Thistlecrack from four out in the King George before sticking on again and now he is being asked to find his speed again over 2m5f. He last raced at short of three miles ten starts ago, in 2015, when thrashed by Don Cossack at Aintree. Thus it is legitimate to question whether he still has enough pace at this trip.

2. What has he actually achieved this year? Defeat in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby was followed by a win over the below par and subsequently injured Coneygree. Then he was thrashed by Thistlecrack in the King George, finishing narrowly ahead of Silviniaco Conti and Tea for Two. With those efforts in mind there is certainly a question mark over whether he is as good as he used to be.

Cue Card 7-1

3. The form of the Colin Tizzard yard has to be a worry. He is by no means having a rough period but two wins from his last 25 runners represents just an 8 per cent strike rate.

4. At 4-9 he is probably the correct price, but that is very short given what I have outlined above. I will happily lay him at that price and take the minor hit if he does win.

5. When laying one you need at least one running for you and in my opinion that one is Royal Regatta who should be backed each way at 8-1. Royal Regatta has a tremendous record at Ascot. His form figures at the track read 21231 and this 2m5f trip is ideal. The front-runner’s latest poor effort at Cheltenham can be ignored, as he will surely reproduce his best again at his favourite track.

6. His trainer Philip Hobbs is in good form. His past three runners have all obliged and in the last fortnight he has had seven winners from 32 runners at 22 per cent.

Angus McNae’s Something For The Weekend

3.35 AscotLay Cue Card at 4-9

3.35 AscotBack Royal Regatta each way at 8-1 with William Hill

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