Saturday 20 January 2018

Tizzard hoping Thistlecrack will rise to task on his chasing debut

Trainer Colin Tizzard says Thistlecrack is
Trainer Colin Tizzard says Thistlecrack is "ready to run". Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Thomas Kelly

Colin Tizzard insists Thistlecrack is "ready to run" as his champion staying hurdler begins a new career over fences at Chepstow today.

Unbeaten in all of the big staying contests over the smaller obstacles last term, including the World Hurdle at Cheltenham, he is already favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, despite not having jumped a fence in public.

He was due to make his debut at Chepstow a fortnight ago, but Tizzard deemed the ground to be too quick. The trainer now feels the extra time has just helped him get his stable star closer to peak fitness ahead of the novices' chase over just shy of three miles.

"I think the extra couple of weeks have been a help to him," said the Dorset handler, who has his horses firing on all cylinders. "I think he's a bit more ready now than he was then. He's working well and he's fit.

"We've had quite a good time of it of late. I was a bit concerned we were having too many seconds, so it was nice to have three winners on Sunday. He's ready to run. Hopefully the ground will be fine.

"With any novice that's jumping fences for the first time, you just hope they have a clear round and everything goes well, but we can't say that with horses like him and Cue Card as the expectations are so high."

Meanwhile, Limato is on course for a fascinating clash with Tepin in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita after connections decided to swerve the Turf Sprint.

Both races were under consideration for the four-year-old - a decision was made to give him just the one entry in the Mile.

The gelded son of Tagula, winner of the July Cup and Prix da la Foret, finished fourth on his sole try over the trip in the Lockinge at Newbury in May.

Trainer Henry Candy said: "We've decided to just give him the entry in the Mile. I didn't like the idea of the sprint course in case he is slow away.

"I suppose as it is an easy mile you have got to think he will get it."

Irish Independent

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