There has been a lot of talk about Cue Card in the aftermath of his third in the Charlie Hall on Saturday but the time to judge the horse will be in the Betfair Chase at Haydock later this month, on a track we know he loves and where the ground is virtually guaranteed to be a lot softer than it was at Wetherby.
And I think the ground could be key in assessing his performance last Saturday.
It was plenty quick enough for him at Wetherby. I have ridden him on good ground and I didn’t think the going would be a problem for him on Saturday.
But he didn’t feel entirely at ease on ground that rode on the fast side, and with hindsight I should have accepted that things weren’t going exactly to plan and nursed him through the race more.
I would like to ride the race again. Of course, I would.
I have been in the game a long time, though, and I haven’t had a trainer come out like Colin Tizzard has done after the race, and effectively taken a lot of the responsibility for the defeat. So I have the utmost respect for the man.
But, looking back, I was too positive or aggressive on the horse, call it what you will. That’s the bottom line. But let’s put the race behind us and it is not as if the horse has run badly, and we should not lose sight of that.
Of course, he ran below form but he was only beaten just over 3 lengths and the Charlie Hall can throw up some funny results, as we saw with Silviniaco Conti in 2014.
He was beaten 8 lengths into fifth there, and then went on to win the Betfair Chase on his next start.
Here is hoping that we can do the same at Haydock for the third time in just over a fortnight’s time. As I said earlier, that will be the time to judge him, on a course that suits him well and hopefully on soft ground, too.