Colin Tizzard pair Cue Card and Native River go head-to-head in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival later this week and connections say there is “not much between” the two heavily fancied stars.
Cue Card appeared on course to claim the Cheltenham showpiece 12 months ago but fell with three to go.
The 11-year-old has impressed since, however, claiming the Ascot Chase last month and coming in second behind Thistlecrack in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Cue Card is rated at 5.00 to claim the Gold Cup on Friday and Native River is a 4.50 chance.
The latter has landed the Hennessy Gold Cup, Welsh National and Denman Chase this season and Tizzard’s son Joe says both look in fine form ahead of the Gold Cup.
“There is not much between them,” he said, as reported by the Belfast Telegraph. “They’ve both had beautiful prep runs and go into the Gold Cup in their best form.
All we need now is a bit of luck and what will be will be. I know there’s a stat about how long it’s been since an 11-year-old has won the Gold Cup, but we look at Cue Card every morning and try to think he’s an 11-year-old.
We can’t see one bit of difference between now and how he was four years ago. He’s every bit as enthusiastic.”
Djakadam is 4.50 ahead of the Gold Cup and Empire of Dirt can be backed at 13.00.