King George hero can get right back on Cue
Cue Card can remind everyone of his brilliance by winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock today for a third time.
Despite being the highest-rated chaser in Britain, the Colin Tizzard-trained 10-year-old will have plenty of folk happy to take him on as the likely favourite.
This will be largely down to his reverse in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, when he could only finish third behind Irish Cavalier and Menorah, an almost certain non runner.
That defeat was a surprise, but it should not be allowed to happen on Merseyside.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing in horseracing, but maybe Tizzard and jockey Paddy Brennan would have changed tactics, given their chance again at the Yorkshire track. Cue Card had been off the track since April, but perhaps his trainer overestimated how fit he actually was.
Brennan went into the lead quite a long way from home, which was probably not the canniest of manoeuvres as his partner grew laborious under pressure from Irish Cavalier and Menorah.
Had he been held on to for longer it is entirely possible Cue Card could have preserved energy for when it mattered the most.
Irish Cavalier renews rivalry in the Betfair Chase, but that rival now meets the Tizzard inmate on level terms, whereas he was in receipt of 4lb in the Charlie Hall.
Menorah, too, had been pencilled in to come back for another go but that plan appears to have been scrapped.
With all this in mind, it is quite easy to see the Wetherby form turned on its head.
Coneygree, the 2015 Gold Cup hero, will be the populist vote, but the chances of him winning are surely eroded by the fact he has spent so long in the wilderness.
Cue Card, conversely, will be fitter and stronger with that Wetherby run in safe-keeping, while conditions at Haydock should be very similar to when he won this race in 2013 and last season.
In a race in which the cream nearly always rises to the top, last year's King George hero fulfils that important criteria doing proverbial handstands.
Fine racing is in prospect at Ascot, with Yanworth the major player in the Coral Hurdle. Alan King's six-year-old looked a quality horse last season, and though he could not quite justify short-priced favouritism in the Neptune at Cheltenham, he will be winning Grade Ones this winter.
The decision to bypass the Betfair Chase with God's Own can give Tom George that warm glow of satisfaction if he lands the Stella Artois 1965 Chase.
ASCOT: 12.25 Coastal Tiep, 12.55 Aurillac, 1.30 Miss Estela, 2.05 God's Own, 2.40 Yanworth, 3.15 Vaniteux, 3.50 On The Prowl.
HAYDOCK: 12.10 Clyne, 12.40 Massini's Trap, 1.15 Sun Cloud, 1.50 My Tent Or Yours, 2.25 Yala Enki, 3.00 CUE CARD (NAP), 3.35 De Vous A Moi.
HUNTINGDON: 12.05 Nightfly, 12.35 Calva D'Honore, 1.05 The Organist, 1.40 A Boy Named Suzi, 2.15 Crafty Roberto, 2.50 Jack Snipe, 3.25 Glen Forsa.
LINGFIELD: 11.50 Bazwind, 12.20 Hipz, 12.50 Roundabout Magic, 1.25 Catchment, 2.00 Donjuan Triumphant, 2.35 Swiss Cross, 3.10 Ambitious Icarus, 3.45 Just That Lord.
PUNCHESTOWN: 12.00 Landofhopeandglory, 12.30 Sweet Cherry, 1.00 Just Cause, 1.35 Art Of Payroll, 2.10 Bull Ride, 2.45 Foxrock, 3.20 Senewalk, 3.55 Davids Charm.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.45 Dan Troop, 6.15 Anythingtoday, 6.45 Ready, 7.15 The Tichborne, 7.45 Inaam, 8.15 Shining Romeo, 8.45 Lorelei, 6.15 Billyoakes.
DOUBLE: Cue Card and Yala Enki.