Horse Racing: Cue Card holds best hand

Cue Card takes the next step on a road which could lead to a crack at the Champion Hurdle when he tackles the Cheltenham Collection Sharp Novices' Hurdle tomorrow.

Colin Tizzard's pride and joy was an unconsidered 40-1 shot in the Champion Bumper here back in March but defied those odds with a brilliant success of eight lengths. That race has worked out well, and Tizzard's four-year-old showed it was no fluke when really impressing on his first run over hurdles at Aintree last month.

In fact, so impressive was he that connections are tempted to skip the novice events at this season's festival and go in against the big guns in the two-mile blue riband.

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Dorset-based Tizzard said: "His form in bumpers has to be the best in the land and, while not wanting to tempt fate, he seems to jump very well.

"He's exciting, but there's a lot of responsibility that goes with it."

Asked if his star turn could improve fitness-wise for that Aintree romp, the trainer added: "He looked pretty sharp at Aintree to me, I wouldn't want him any sharper than that!"

Cue Card will not have it all his own way, however, with traner Philip Hobbs feeling very positive about the chances of Dunraven Storm, beaten just once in five starts and yet to taste defeat over obstacles.

Hobbs said: "Of course, I am worried about Cue Card, but someone has to take him on and he has won his two novice hurdles very well. We will find out how good he is on Friday. We won this race with Boychuk in 2005."

The Grade Two event is one of four in front of the Channel 4 cameras, also including the unique Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, in which Irish trainer Enda Bolger should once again dominate.