• Horse racing

Cue Card set to miss Cheltenham

ESPN staff
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Cue Card claimed an impressive victory at Haydock Park in November © PA Photos
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Cue Card, a contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, has been ruled out of next month's meeting due to pulled muscles.

The horse won the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park last November, but trainer Colin Tizzard has confirmed the withdrawal. The news comes in the same week which saw Sprinter Sacre pulling out on Sunday and missing the defence of his title.

"Unfortunately he has pulled muscles behind and he won't be running at the Cheltenham Festival," Tizzard said.

Cue Card, ridden by Tizzard's son Joe, won the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham a year ago.

Colin Tizzard added: "We first noticed it last week. It was only a small thing then and it is only small now, but we cantered him this morning and he is still not right.

"He hasn't got any better and you can't be going to Cheltenham 90%. The horse has looked after me for the last four years and it is my turn to look after him."

Meanwhile, Long Run will also not be competing at Cheltenham, with the focus set to be on Aintree in April.

"I think in all probability he will go straight to Aintree," trainer Nicky Henderson said. "I've talked to [owner] Robert [Waley-Cohen] and I suspect he won't go to Cheltenham. We were very pleased with him at Kelso and he's great."

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