Much-loved steeplechaser Cue Card is set to become the new stable star for showing producer Katie Jerram-Hunnable.
The 13-year-old gelding arrived last week (11 April) at Katie’s Essex yard, and is pencilled in to make his Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) debut in hand at Royal Windsor next month.
Cue Card, trained by Colin Tizzard, retired in April 2018 after taking nine Grade 1 victories, including the King George VI chase in 2015. He won more than £1m under Rules.
“I saw the farewell pictures from his leaving do at the Tizzards’ yard on Facebook and I had a lump in my throat. Everyone there is upset he’s going, but it’s lovely to know he’s so loved — not just by crowds but by the yard,” said Katie. “I said ‘sorry we were taking him away, but we’ll do our best to take care of him’.”
Katie said the horse had settled straight in to his “prime box” next door to The Queen’s prolific RoR champion Barbers Shop.
“He went straight in and tucked into his hay and had a drink and looked happy,” said Katie. “Barber’s nose did look slightly out of joint at the new arrival, which was quite funny!”
Prior to Cue Card’s owner Jean Bishop giving Katie’s yard the seal of approval last week, the son of King’s Theatre (Sadler’s Wells) had been adjusting to retirement at his trainers, and made his most recent public appearance in a parade at Cheltenham last month.
Katie said Cue Card had “come out of racing looking amazing” and had “finished his career with a smile on his face”, adding that she “couldn’t wait to get started” preparing him for his showing debut.
“I’m planning to have a sit on him this afternoon and then he’ll go out in the paddock and get into his new routine,” she said.
Cue Card will be heading to Cheltenham next week in a bid to win the Gold Cup (18 March) plus
The unusually hairy competitor kept up with runners from the 7km to the 9km marker, where she was eventually caught
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“He is entered into Royal Windsor in hand — it’s very early days but we thought we would do some in-hand showing this year, just to get him used to the banners and everything that’s going on and then I’d like to think he could do some novice ridden before beginning his open campaign the year after.”
Katie said the bay — who his lad described as “a very kind horse” — has all the attributes to succeed in his new role.
“He’s a beautiful horse with the most lovely body — short coupled, deep through the girth, a cracking hind leg, beautiful foreleg and lovely length of rein,” she said. “Obviously he will put more on his top line, it will just be a case of putting his muscles into different use as he won’t be used to working through the way we would work him through. We’ll start with light work in the school and a lot of hacking.
“Everyone is so excited about it,” she added. “The driver who dropped him off said he’d be cheering him on at every show — it means the world to me that he has such a lovely following.”
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