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Cue Card and Menorah face off in Tuesday's fascinating five-runner renewal of the Haldon Gold Cup

Updated: Monday, 05 Nov 2012 13:43 | Comments

Colin Tizzard's Cue Card, former winner of the Cheltenham bumper, starts his season in the Haldon Gold Cup
Colin Tizzard's Cue Card, former winner of the Cheltenham bumper, starts his season in the Haldon Gold Cup

Cue Card and Menorah face off in a fascinating five-runner renewal of the Sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on Tuesday.

Colin Tizzard's Cue Card beat the subsequently impressive Old Roan Chase winner For Non Stop at Newbury and then finished second to Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Menorah took his time to warm to fences and was beaten much further in the Arkle.

But by the time he got to Aintree he knew his job and landed a Grade One in style, beating Saturday's Down Royal winner Cristal Bonus by seven lengths.

He ended his season with a fourth in heavy ground at the Punchestown Festival. Hobbs has recently won the race with Monkerhostin (2005) and Planet Of Sound (2009).

Paul Nicholls runs Edgardo Sol, who proved very versatile last season.

Renard, trained by Venetia Williams, improved tremendously last season and is also in contention, while Jermy Scott's Webberys Dream completes the field.

Tizzard has been happy with Cue Card's preparation ahead of his seasonal bow.

"Menorah will be no pushover, that's for sure," said the Dorset handler.

"He beat us over hurdles, though we beat him in the Arkle.

"We're getting 3lb tomorrow, though, which helps.

"I think this is a lovely starting place. Exeter's quite stiff so it's the equivalent of two and a half miles anyway, although I'm sure he'll stay further than that.

"The ground is good to soft, which is fine, so everything is right for him.

"We could have gone to Wetherby for the Charlie Hall but they got rain and I wouldn't have wanted to bottom him first time up.

"We'll know which way we go with him after this."

Elsewhere on the card, Hinterland, already prominent in the ante-post lists for the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival, makes his chasing debut in the Gain Horse Feeds Novices' Chase.

Trained by Paul Nicholls, Hinterland won a Grade Two Triumph Hurdle trial on his British debut but missed the Cheltenham Festival and fell in the Grade One juvenile hurdle at Aintree.

He looked a stronger horse on his return to action this season when winning a decent handicap hurdle but connections have taken the decision to send him over fences.

"Hinterland will go over fences and we're looking forward to it," said Nicholls.

"It's a nice track for him to start off and he's schooled well.

"He was bought as a chaser, really, so the fact that he was able to win a decent race or two over hurdles was a bonus."

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