Cheltenham Gold Cup 2014 tips - Cue Card won't fluff his lines

Cue Card winning last year's Ryanair Chase (Photo by ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)
Plenty of experts are predicting the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a match between Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti but I'm having none of it and reckon Cue Card is a value bet to upset the big two.

First let's deal with the elephant in the room here; notably how can he stay an extended 3m 2f at Cheltenham after capitulating late on in the King George at Kempton over a slightly shorter trip?

The more I look at that loss to Silviniaco Conti, however, the more I'm convinced it was a bizarre lapse in concentration rather than a lack of stamina that led to the eight-year-old's downfall in that contest.

Turning for home, Joe Tizzard was sitting pretty while Noel Fehily was hard at work on the eventual victor and it looked a matter of how far Cue Card would win by as he bounced over the third last and the penultimate fence to effortlessly extend his advantage.

All of a sudden, his head was in the air and Silviniaco Conti swept by as if Colin Tizzard's charge was treading water, but rather than continue to go backwards, he still put in a fine leap at the final obstacle and plugged on to keep the winning margin down to three and a half lengths.

It all looked a bit weird to me, as he went from being long odds-on to power clear to seeming in danger of being swallowed up by the chasing pack before settling for somewhere in between those two scenarios.

However, even if Cue Card was a touch leg-weary between the last two obstacles that still wouldn't put me off, as the King George can be a misleading contest, with many pundits describing it as an easy 3m on a flat track track, when in reality it tends to be an all-out assault from start to finish.

The Gold Cup should be run at a much more even pace and Tizzard junior has already expressed his opinion that the lay-out of the course does offer more opportunities for horses to catch their breath before bracing themselves for a last-ditch battle up the hill.

Cue Card beating Dynaste and Silviniaco Conti at Haydock (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Cue Card has certainly proved he can handle the unique challenge of performing at the Cheltenham Festival, tanking home to demolish Al Ferof by eight lengths in the 2010 Champion Bumper and also staying on strongly to crush First Lieutenant by an ever-increasing nine lengths in last year's Ryanair Chase.

Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti may be a level above the opposition he faced 12 months ago, but they were both soundly beaten when Cue Card galloped on gamely to land the Betfair Chase over 3m 1f at Haydock in November after a beautiful round of jumping, following which he was cut to just 4/1 for the Gold Cup.

Defending champion Bobs Worth may have bounced back to form in the Lexus and Silviniaco Conti, who would have been thereabouts last term but for coming down at the third last, obviously has a touch of class, but the current 8/1 at Paddy Power for Cue Card is too tempting to pass up in my book.

The Irish firm are also offering non-runner no bet, so we are safely covered just in case the ground comes up heavy and connections make a last-minute decision to drop back down in trip for the Ryanair!

For those who fear the top two in the betting may still prove tough nuts to crack, Betfair have a place only market where you should be able to get a few quid on Cue Card to finish in the first three at around 5/2 or slightly better and that price makes plenty of appeal here too.
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Cheltenham Gold Cup 2014 tips - Cue Card won't fluff his lines

Plenty of experts are predicting the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a match between Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti but I'm having none of it and reckon Cue Card is a value bet to upset the big two.

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