Cue Card: won the Ryanair Chase back in 2013
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
By Stuart Riley 1:06PM 12 JAN 2017
DJAKADAM, Cue Card and Outlander, third, fourth and fifth in the betting for the Timico Gold Cup, have also been given the option of the Ryanair Chase.
It is perhaps a reflection of Thistlecrack’s dominance of that market that the Lexus winner, and the horse who has finished runner-up in each of the last two Gold Cups have been handed the Ryanair alternative.
Thistlecrack’s stablemate Cue Card could have been a Gold Cup winner but for falling three out when looking a danger last year, and he could try to win the Ryanair for a second time having been been successful in 2013.
The trio were among 48 entries, many of which overlapped with the 28 made for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Ar Mad, Black Hercules, Champagne Fever, Dodging Bullets, Douvan, Fox Norton, God’s Own, Sizing John, Traffic Fluide, Un De Sceaux, Uxizandre and Vroum Vroum Mag were among those double-booked.
Altior, L’Ami Serge and Sire De Grugy were the most notable names to only appear among the Champion Chase entries, while Gold Cup hopefuls Alary, Bristol De Mai, More Of That, Road To Riches and Saphir Du Rheu were also given the option of the Ryanair.
Tom George, who also gave Desert Orchid Chase runner-up Sir Valentino an entry in the Queen Mother alongside God’s Own’s double entry, said: “God’s Own is fine. He has had a winter break and we are just starting away again with him now.
“I would say it is more than likely that he will go straight to Cheltenham. We haven’t made any concrete plans but that is the way it is looking.
“He has got entries in the Champion Chase and Ryanair just to give us options really. He proved he stays at Aintree last spring and it makes sense to have both entries.
“Sir Valentino has also had a little break and we will start building him up again. He is improving all the time and it was a great run against Special Tiara giving him six pounds.
“There isn’t an apparent reason why he has improved so much. We have just given him plenty of time and he has kept stepping up.”