Gold Cup glory 'a nice way' to end Cue Card career, says owner Jean Bishop

Mon 27 Feb 2017

Owner Jean Bishop admits victory in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup would be a dream swansong for Cue Card.

The 11-year-old looked sure to make his presence felt in last year's Festival feature before crashing out at the third-last fence.

That departure cost Cue Card any chance of the £1million bonus on offer for winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock, the King George at Kempton and the Gold Cup.

Cue Card has already bagged the Betfair once again this year and was last seen winning the Ascot Chase by 15 lengths.

Bishop believes that should Cue Card win the Gold Cup on what will be his sixth Festival appearance, there would be little left for him to achieve.

Of her star's possible retirement, she said: "It is a good question. I don't know - I would have to speak to Colin (Tizzard, trainer).

"I wouldn't want to carry on racing him and see him struggle or anything like that.

"He couldn't do anything else if he won the Gold Cup and there would be nothing to aim for. It would be a nice way to end his career.

"He has been on the go for seven years and it would probably be the best thing for him. We will have to see.

"He has got to win the Gold Cup first then we will think about it after the race."

Cue Card is a general 3-1 chance for the Gold Cup with his nearest market rival being stablemate Native River.

But Bishop believes she could also have a lively outsider for the race in the shape of Theatre Guide.

The 10-year-old could finish only third behind bottom-weight Pilgrims Bay as he tried to defend his BetBright Chase title at Kempton last Saturday, but Bishop still thinks he is worth a shot in the big one.

She said: "The winner did to him this year what he did to them last year winning off a lightweight.

"Paddy (Brennan) was unlucky when the horse came down in front of him. I think that could have cost him a bit of ground. He usually takes a couple of fences to get into a rhythm, but he started off into one straight away. Paddy was pleased with the way he ran.

"It was pleasing and we are going to try for the Gold Cup with him. He is entered in the Ultima (Handicap Chase).

"I spoke to Kim, Colin's daughter, who rides him every day, and I said to her, 'If Cue Card and Native River weren't in it, would you put him in?', and shesaid, 'Yes, definitely'.

"I don't want to take away him having his chance in the Gold Cup. He seems to be the right age to have a go.

"I've been encouraged from what I've heard about him so we will let him go and try and you never know what might happen on the day."

Theatre Guide is as long as 150-1 for Gold Cup glory.

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