Cue Card could not have been any more emphatic in his demolition of the likes of Edgardo Sol and Menorah in the Haldon Gold Cup, but stepping up to 2m4f still seems the best option in the hope of a victory at the Cheltenham Festival.
Collin Tizzard’s horse has been cut from 16/ 1 to 10/1 for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham and this still may represent a hint of each-way value.
The problem is that if this is his Cheltenham engagement, there is little to suggest he can reverse form from the last Festival with Sprinter Sacre, who readily outpaced him to run away with the Arkle.
Prior to this, Cue Card spent his novice champing over middle-distance trips, notably when running Bobs Worth to a short head at Newbury.
Although not totally a stamina horse, the last Festival proved that he does not possess the outright speed to challenge the best over 2m and the way he stayed out suggested he was crying out for a slightly longer trip.
With no obvious option over an optimum trip of 2m2f, it would surely be worth connections choosing the Ryanair Chase over 2m4f at Cheltenham, especially given there appears to be no outright superstar.
Riverside Theatre should return to defend his title, but the other leading fancies at this stage such as Finian’s Rainbow and Grands Crus seem to have the Cheltenham Gold Cup as their primary targets.
However, there are still four months for connections to make up their minds and things may be clearer if Cue Card is entered for the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon in December, which is over 2m4f.
With Kempton known for being a flat track, a first crack at 3m is not totally out of the question either and there may be a case for connections to take their chance in the King George on Boxing Day as a bit of a trial.
Cue Card is currently also 10/1 to win the King George.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.