Obviously, I am thrilled to get the ride back on Cue Card at Ascot on Saturday, and I can tell you that he felt as fresh and well as he has ever done when I schooled him over six fences this morning.
I know there were a few names in the hat to ride him this weekend but I think it speaks volumes about Colin Tizzard that he has put me back on the horse after taking me off.
Not many owners and trainers have done that before with me, I can tell you, and it shows the people that Jean [Bishop] and Colin are.
So, of course, I am delighted that things have come back my way and I can tell you – and this is genuine – that Cue Card really did feel as good, if not better, than he did when going into this race last year when I sat on him this morning.
He felt so, so well.
Now, obviously, this is a far stronger renewal than last year’s race, but he won that by 15 lengths and the break that he has had since the Betfair Chase appears to have done him the world of good.
Yes, I know he is 12yo and getting on now, and meeting some seriously talented and improving chasers, but he is a proven Grade 1 winner who loves the track and the ground, and also don’t lose sight of the fact that he is still the highest-rated horse in the line-up.
Win, lose or draw, though, it is a delight as well as a privilege to be getting on the old boy again. I love him to bits, whatever happens on Saturday.
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