Grands Crus and Cue Card to clash at Cheltenham


Tagged under: 2 The Open Meeting

Cheltenham favourites Grands Crus and Cue Card will face each other in the Steel Plate and Sections Novices’ Chase at the Paddy Power sponsored Open meeting on Friday.

The final event on Friday’s racecard has attracted a small but high quality line up of seven Cheltenham Festival hopefuls which should provide a thrilling climax to the first of the three day meeting.

Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card won the Champion Bumper at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival and was successful in his first attempt over jumps at Chepstow last month. The five-year-old is seen as the biggest threat to 2011 World Hurdle runner up Grands Crus when they meet over Cheltenham's two-and-half miles chase course. Online bookmaker Victor Chandler was betting 13/8 for David Pipe’s grey with Cue Card second best at 2/1.

The race is anything but a match between the two main market rivals, Martin Keighley will saddle up the highly rated Champion Court who won on his second attempt over the larger obstacles at Aintree on 23 October. Nick Williams took charge of Triumph Hurdle winner Zaynar from Nicky Henderson last season and is preparing the six-year-old for a campaign over fences. Zaynor finished third on his chasing debut in a two-mile Novices race at Cheltenham last month when he lost his chance after blundering the tenth.

Paul Nicholls introduces Dualla Lord to fences after making his first appearance in this country in a hurdle event at Chepstow, Vino Griego will debut over jumps for Gary Moore’s yard and Nigel Twiston-Davies will complete the line up with the blinkered Sybarite who was beaten favourite at Stratford two weeks ago.

With Cue Card rated a leading contender for the Arkle Trophy and Grands Crus clear favourite for the RSA Chase, Friday’s race will give some invaluable pointers for the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.

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