Find out all you need to know about the Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card — from being polite to visitors in his stable, to his penchant for food
1. He won his first four races out
Cue Card won his first race, a bumper at Fontwell on 25 January 2010, “so easily” that Colin decided they had to go to the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. So in March 2010, that’s what they did.
“He’s a small horse, no more than 15.3hh, and in the parade ring next to some of Willie Mullins’ big ones he looked like a foal,” says Colin. “But he bolted up. I’ve never had a feeling like it, all the hairs on the back on my neck stood up, and he’s carried that on right the way through.”
2. He’s real family horse
He came to the Tizzards as an unbroken three-year-old and he’s been with them ever since. He’s now rising 11. “We knew straight away he was special,” says Colin, who is based in Dorset. “Thank God he’s still going as well as he is. Hopefully he will never leave his home here, he’s certainly changed my life. I was a farmer before and horses were my hobby, now it’s the other way around.”
Cue Card is owned by Jean Bishop, who owned the horse with her late husband, Bob, who died just four days after Cue Card won the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day 2015. Jean also owns horses including Theatre Guide and Royal Vaction, trained by Colin.
Colin’s son Joe rode Cue Card in the horse’s first 20 races, winning 10 of them. When Joe retired in 2014 the ride was taken on by Daryl Jacob. Cue Card was ridden once by Aidan Coleman, but in the past couple of seasons has formed a successful partnership with Paddy Brennan, with the pair winning five from eight starts together.
3. He’s calmed with age
“When he was younger we’d have to put the handbrake on, you couldn’t hold him. He’d be ferocious on the gallops, and always wanted to get to the top first,” says Colin. “Nowadays he’s more relaxed, though he’s always willing to do his work.”
4. He’s won £1.2m in prize money
The 10-year-old gelding by King’s Theatre has won 15 races from 33 starts, racking up a hefty £1.2m in prize-money. Eleven of those wins have been over fences, and including the Betfair Chase (three times), the King George, The Ryanair Chase and the Haldon Gold Cup.
He recently took his third Betfair Chase at Haydock by an impressive 15l, beating 2016 Gold Cup winner Coneygree. If he goes on to win the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day and Cheltenham Gold Cup in March he stands to win a £1m bonus. Last season he won the first two legs, before falling in the Gold Cup. Can he do it this time around?
5. He’s independent
“In the summer he’s always stood on his own in the field,” says Colin. “He’s not a loner but he’s certainly independent.
“In the stable he’s friendly enough, you’d never see him put his ears back. He gets a lot of visitors now, so he’ll be polite and put his head over the door for a while, but then he’ll head to the back of the stall and mind his own business.”
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6. He’s a good eater
“He always finishes his food and he never misses a feed,” says Colin of the horse, who is affectionately known as Crackle at home. “He’s a beautiful horse, a real superstar.”
Don’t miss our ‘The Horse That Made Me’ feature with Colin Tizzard, where he talks all about Cue Card, in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (8 December 2016)