Former King George Winner Cue Card Could Be Set to Retire
Connections of Cue Card must now make a big decision about the future of their horse following his second-place finish in the Aintree Bowl Chase at the Grand National meeting, where he was unable to defend his crown in the Grade One contest at the Merseyside track.
The 2016 winner was travelling well with three fences to jump, however, as reported on the Bet365 racing news site, the early leader was reeled back by Tea For Two who got the better of him in a close finish up in the line at Aintree under the hands of Lizzie Kelly.
It has been a mixed campaign for Colin Tizzard’s runner as he has had success in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock and the Ascot Chase back in February. His season is likely to be remembered for his fall in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, though, where he came down at exactly the same fence he fell at in 2016 in the race won by Irish horse Sizing John.
With the Punchestown Festival in Ireland set to be the final major meeting of the national hunt season in the 2016/17 campaign, connections will need to decide whether to have one more shot at a major Grade One contest, give their horse the rest of the season off or retire them from the sport.
Cue Card has won 16 times under rules, eight of which were at the highest grade. He was successful in the 2015 King George VI Chase, while he has won twice at the Cheltenham Festival; therefore, he has established himself as one of the best chasers over the last couple of decades.
Silviniaco Conti Ends Career At Aintree
Two-time King George winner Silviniaco Conti was given his final assignment at Aintree in the Bowl Chase. Paul Nicholls’ runner could only finish sixth of the seven runners and was unable to land a victory in his final season on the track.
The 11-year-old moved to the UK from France in the summer of 2010. He made his debut at Bangor in a novice hurdle. His first success at Kempton on Boxing Day came in 2013 when he scored by over three lengths ahead of Cue Card. He returned 12 months later in an equally impressive run to defend his crown.
Silviniaco Conti was never able to score at Cheltenham at the Festival. He had three attempts at the Gold Cup where his best finish was in 2014, with a fourth place in the year Lord Windermere won the Blue Riband event of the meeting.
Nicholls’ chaser arrived into the Ditcheat yard just after Kauto Star and Denman and was able to fill the gap left by the former Gold Cup winners. He had one shot at the Grand National last year where he was pulled up by jockey Noel Fehily at the 14th fence as he struggled to handle to the course at Aintree.
The former Champion Trainer will now look to find the next stable star amongst his novices, hoping that they can replicate some of the success he had with the French-bred horse.
- ● Happy Valley Selections for 26th April 2017
- ● Neorealism in Sunday’s APQEII Cup affirms Moreira’s rising world status
- ● Moore happy with Queen Mother quartet ahead of G3 feature
- ● Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup Track Work
25th April 2017 - Rhododendron, the Irish-trained ante post favourite, is set to face a strong home contingent headed by Daban and Fair Eva in Sunday, 7th May’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse as 27 fillies remain engaged in the Group 1 event following today’s forfeit stage.
The QIPCO 2000 Guineas is shaping up to be a vintage renewal this season, with leading contenders from Ireland, France and Britain plus two representatives of the first crop of the unbeaten wonder horse, Frankel, set to do battle in the first leg of the 2017 QIPCO British Champions Series at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday, 6th May.
Newmarket trainer Hugo Palmer is excited about running his stable star Galileo Gold in the first proper test of 2017 for older milers in Europe, the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, at Newbury on Saturday, May 20.