If Cue Card wins the Gold Cup then we’d probably retire him, reveals owner Jean Bishop

Leading light: Gold Cup hopeful Cue Card with his 83-year-old owner Jean Bishop

Owner Jean Bishop is hoping Cue Card can help her realise a lifetime ambition by winning the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup tomorrow.

The peoples’ favourite could be her last runner in the showpiece because, at the age of 83, she says she is too old to buy any more racehorses. And Bishop suggests Cue Card, who fell three out while leading the race last year, might be retired if he prevails. “It would probably be the best thing for him,” she said. “He has got to win first, then we will think about it.”

The blue colours of Bishop, from Croydon, and her late husband Bob have been a regular sight on British racecourses for almost 35 years.

Bob, a former Crystal Palace player and later the club’s vice-chairman, and Jean were superstitious and, determined not to jinx Cue Card, would wear the same outfits whenever he ran. Since Bob’s sudden passing last year, Jean has remained faithful to the formula.

“Every photo I’ve got, I’m wearing the same coat, same scarf, same everything,” she said. “I vary the jumpers with other horses but not with Cue Card — it’s always the same.”

Bishop, who will also be represented in the showpiece race by Theatre Guide, picked out Cue Card in a sales catalogue before he was put up for auction in Ireland in the summer of 2009.

She liked the stock of his sire, King’s Theatre, and was also impressed by the exploits of his dam, Wicked Crack. An early look at him the night before he went through the sales ring convinced the Bishops he had star quality.

“Nobody really knows what they are going to get when they buy at the sales, but with Cue Card it all fitted,” Bishop said.

“We would never pay silly money for a horse but if there was something we liked and could afford, we went for it. We were lucky enough to end up with him. He’s been unbelievable and made going racing much more of a pleasure. Winning tomorrow would be a nice way to end his career.”