Cue Card Takes the Bumper for the British
1 Cue Card 40/1
Cue Card became only the fourth British-trained winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper when belying his 40/1 odds to come home the comfortable eight-length winner for father/son combination of trainer Colin and jockey Joe Tizzard. Unlike the previous three British-trained winners, Cue Card was also bred in Britain by Roland Crellin.
The winner travelled supremely well throughout and had the race wrapped up from the home bend, when he overhauled the leader Al Ferof.
Colin Tizzard said: “If anybody saw his win first time out at Fontwell, they would have seen that he absolutely bolted up and Joe had to go up and down the hill before he could pull him up.
“He looked like a four-year-old in the pre-parade ring - I thought that he was a bit smaller than the rest - but I always get negative before a race. He has always done everything so easily at home and he is such an easy horse to train. I said to the owner that we wouldn’t talk about him the past fortnight because nothing has gone wrong since the day we broke him in and it has been easy - I suppose the good ones are.
“I said in my local paper that I am sure that this horse would have been third or fourth favourite if he was trained by Willie Mullins. He absolutely sluiced up first time out and he has done the same today.
“We kept him busy for three weeks after his Fontwell win (January 25) and then just kept him fresh for today. We were going to give him another run, but then thought why should we run the risk and came straight to Cheltenham instead.
“He wore a grackle noseband today and I thought at one point that he was doing too much, but he got there easily in the end.
“I thought we had some half-decent chances this week, but I never thought he would win like he has today.”
Joe Tizzard added: "We absolutely love the horse, but all the stats say four-year-olds can't do it. But he won well at Fontwell and the second came out and won and the fourth came out and won.
“He travelled particularly well and I was able to follow AP through round the top bend and down the hill. I could see he was starting to struggle so then I followed Ruby - the plan was not to hit the front as soon as I did but he still had plenty left. He is a lovely horse and he proved what we have always thought about him. That was only his second time at a racecourse and he is very exciting.
“It has been a long time since I had a Festival winner and I am so involved at home that I don’t really take outside rides that much. I just wanted to get one on the board for home because they are hard to come by.”
AL FEROF AND FRAWLEY ARE RIGHT ON CUE
Cue Card, trained by Colin Tizzard, won the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, but the second and third pleased trainers Paul Nicholls and John Kiely.
Nicholls, trainer of second-placed Al Ferof, said: “It was a great run and I should think they are two very good horses. He won’t run again this season, he’ll be going hurdling in the autumn and is an exciting prospect, he’s already won a point-to-point.”
Irish-trained horses have tended to dominate this race, but they could do no better than third. Frawley took that position under Barry Geraghty, and Kiely said: “I thought he’d put up a decent run. He’s a nice horse and I’m delighted. He’s got the size and scope to jump hurdles and is one to look forward to.”
Frawley had won just once before crossing to Cheltenham, but Kiely said: “He was unlucky on a couple of occasions, he was sick for a while and he got pocketed the day he was third to Elegant Concorde [12th in today’s race] so there were reasons.”
Reflecting on his previous Festival visits, Kiely said: “I had one ride here and was fourth in the 1960s in the Gloucestershire Hurdle - Terry Biddlecombe won the race - and I’ve had a couple of places as a trainer, including Take Five who was second in the Coral Hurdle.”
WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER PAST RESULTS
2008-WINNER-COUSIN VINNY 5-11-05 Owner-Festival Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Patrick Mullins; SP-12/1
ALL STAR 5-11-05 Owner-Cathal Ryan; Trainer-Jessica Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry
MOLLY 6-11-05 Owner-F T B Syndicate; Trainer-Joe Crowley
IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-33/1
THAT 6-11-05 Owner-Violet O’Leary;
Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/2 Fav
2004-WINNER-TOTAL ENJOYMENT 5-10-12 Owner-It Will Never Last Syndicate;
Trainer-Tommy Cooper IRE; Jockey-Jim Culloty; SP-7/1
2003-WINNER-LIBERMAN 5-11-06 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-2/1 Fav
2002-WINNER-PIZARRO 5-11-06 Owner-Edward Wallace;
IRE; Jockey-Jamie Spencer; SP-14/1
2000-WINNER-JOE CULLEN 5-11-06 Owner-Jackie Mullins; Trainer-Willie
Mullins IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-14/1
1999-MONSIGNOR 5-11-06 Owner-Malcolm Denmark; Trainer-Mark Pitman; Jockey-Brendan
1998-WINNER-ALEXANDER BANQUET 5-11-06 Owner-M Swarbrick; Trainer-Willie
Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Ruby Walsh; SP-9/1
1997-WINNER-FLORIDA PEARL 5-11-06 Owner-Violet
Mullins IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-6/1
1996-WINNER-WITHER OR WHICH 5-11-06 Owner-Robert Sinclair; Trainer-Willie
Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Willie Mullins; SP-11/4
1995-WINNER-DATO STAR 4-10-12 Owner-Kath Riley & Joe
Donald; Trainer-Malcolm Jefferson; Jockey-Mark Dwyer; SP-7/2
1994-WINNER-MUCKLEMEG 6-11-05 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Edward O'Grady
IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-7/2 Fav
1993-WINNER-RHYTHM SECTION 4-10-11 Owner-Robert Sinclair; Trainer-Homer
Scott IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-16/1
1992-WINNER-MONTELADO 5-11-13 Owner-Ollie Hannon; Trainer-Pat Flynn
IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-8/1
WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER ROLL OF HONOUR
(Weatherbys Champion Bumper since 1997, Bi Group Festival Bumper 1996, Prestige Medical Festival Bumper 1995, Bromsgrove Industries Festival Bumper 1994, Guinness Festival Bumper 1993, Tote Festival Bumper 1992)
Year Winner Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey SP Ran
WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER FACTS & FIGURES
1. The first winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper was Montelado, who achieved what is thought to be the unique feat of winning two consecutive Festival races. The Bumper, now run on Wednesday, was originally the last race of the Festival. Montelado went on to win the opening race of the 1993 Festival, the Trafalgar House Supreme Novices' Hurdle, now sponsored by William Hill.
2. Irish-trained runners have a great record in the race, accounting for 13 of the 16 winners. Willie Mullins has incredibly saddled six of the last 12 winners. He also rode his first winner of the race, the 1996 scorer Wither Or Which, while his son Patrick was in the saddle when Cousin Vinny won for the stable in 2008.
3. The three horses to have kept the trophy at home were Dato Star in 1995, Monsignor, who sprang a 50/1 surprise in 1999, and Liberman, who gave Martin Pipe his first and only win in the race in 2003.
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