Tizzard: Spring ground will suit 'Thistle' better
The shock defeat of Thistlecrack on Saturday, marred by the subsequent death of Many Clouds, has not left trainer Colin Tizzard too disappointed.
Conditions, said the trainer, were not ideal for the novice, which was odds-on for the Timico Gold Cup back at Cheltenham beforehand but is now 2/1.
"He ran his race. I don't want to detract from Many Clouds but with hindsight Thistlecrack may be better on spring ground.
"We saw what he did on better ground at Kempton. He got there to win it but was outstayed up the hill," Tizzard reasoned.
Oliver Sherwood expects to hear the results of a post-mortem on Many Clouds this week. He said the 10-year-old had schooled earlier this season wearing an Equinity heart monitor which, while essentially a fitness tool, had shown nothing abnormal.
Penhill is to go for the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle at the Festival. "That's his target," Willie Mullins said, not ruling Let's Dance out of the same race.
Meanwhile, the anticipated rematch between Arrogate and California Chrome, the two highest-rated horses in the world, in the $12 million (£9.5m) Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, proved something of a damp squib when Arrogate ran out an easy winner and California Chrome was virtually pulled up.
The pair had fought out a terrific duel up the home stretch in the Breeders' Cup in November but, for the first time in his career, California Chrome was not at the races. Yesterday he flew to Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, where he will stand for $40,000 and is due to cover his first mare on February 14.
Art Sherman, his trainer, reported that after the race he had some fluid on his knee, suggesting he might have sustained a small chip. "It's a common injury," said Sherman, "but he's been sound throughout his life."