Cue Card goes from over-hyped to forgotten Cheltenham challenger

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Cue Card may be remembered by some punters as one of the most unnecessarily over-hyped horses heading into the Cheltenham Festival, but how times change in 12 months.

In March last year, Cue Card ensured punters got off to the worst start at the Cheltenham Festival, being sent off the heavily-backed 7/4 favourite to win the opening event of the meeting, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

However, he never truly looked like winning and eventually came home fourth behind Al Ferof.

He has since been stepped up from hurdles to fences and heads to the upcoming Cheltenham Festival as a seriously forgotten horse.

Cue Card has slowly been backed into 8/1 in the Cheltenham odds to win the Arkle Chase and is likely to have slipped under the radar of many punters.

Having opened his chase campaign with a victory in Grade Three company, he was travelling strongly in a race where he was conceding weight to Grands Crus when unseating Joe Tizzard.

Cue Card has run a further twice since, being mugged on the line when giving weight to Bobs Worth over an extended 2m4f and then back over 2m on his latest start, comfortably beat For Non Stop.

This form is particularly noteworthy as again he was giving weight to the same For Non Stop who ran fellow Arkle contender Al Ferof much closer at Sandown in December when the pair clashed on level weights.

If nothing else, Cue Card looks decent each-way value in the Arkle, especially if benefiting from a soft lead in front where he can dictate the pace.

Cue Card will obviously face a stern test from Sprinter Sacre, who has done little wrong so far and has been heavily praised by jockey Barry Geraghty.

But only one favourite since 1995 has won the Arkle and as Cue Card has previously proved, hype horses heading into Cheltenham can disappoint in the biggest races.

Sprinter Sacre is 9/4 in the Cheltenham betting to win the Arkle, with Peddlers Cross 7/2 and Al Ferof 4/1, but this pair both have things to prove and the former in particular does not have the chase form behind him that puts him on par with Cue Card.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.