Colin Tizzard admits Cue Card put him on the training map as he prepares to bid a final farewell to his stable star at Sandown on Saturday.
The 12-year-old gave Tizzard his first Cheltenham Festival success when landing the Champion Bumper in 2010, as well as winning the 2013 Ryanair Chase during his stellar 41-race career.
Tizzard hailed Cue Card’s longevity and believes the gelding helped to lift the yard to it current heights, with Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River among his current crop.
He said: “He’s kept going and that’s what people love about him. He’s not here for one season and then gone, he has been strutting his stuff for eight seasons.
“After his first year he had the most prominent box. He’s been our mainstay, he is the one that has been making the pace all the time.
“We’ve got some good horses now, but we wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for him. Cue Card has given us confidence that we can train the good ones and he has given our owners the confidence to buy horses for us because of what he has done.
“To stick in training for as many years as he has is amazing. He’s had little injuries on the go, but he has always come back from them.”
Cue Card was a 40-1 shot when he won the Champion Bumper and Tizzard points to that day as the highlights of a career that also encompassed three Betfair Chase victories, two Ascot Chases, a King George and a Betfred Bowl at Aintree.
Speaking to Sandown Park ahead of the parade, he said: “It was a massive day. When he came down the hill in the Champion Bumper it shook me. We have had lots and lots of great days, but my favourite moment was the Champion Bumper.
“I remember it now, the back of my neck went rigid hard. It was the Champion Bumper and he was just a four-year-old. He wasn’t very big compared to the six-year-olds.
“He’s a champion in every way, he’s won nine Grade Ones, he’s been brilliant.”
Cue Card will be paraded at Sandown after plans to run in the bet365 Oaksey Chase were abandoned and Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father and Cue Card’s first jockey, hopes fans will turn out to pay tribute.
He said: “He’s a lovely horse. Ever since we have been here he has been in that same stable and he is the first head you see when you drive down to the yard.
“He deserves a big send off. There’s a great crowd there and he has become ‘The People’s Horse’, they really love him. He deserves it, the horse will enjoy it and the people will enjoy seeing him one last time.”