By Simon Jackson.
Thistlecrack is set to go off a short-priced favourite for the Ryanair World Hurdle after trouncing his rivals in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January.
The 12 length victory extended his unbeaten record this campaign and followed a decisive win in the Grade 1 JLT Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last December.
The Ascot victory was preceded by a six-length success at Newbury on his comeback, the trio of wins delighting his in-form trainer Colin Tizzard, who is possibly best known for his exploits with Cue Card, a leading contender for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.
Tizzard is understandably delighted with the progress of his latest star, who he described as ‘absolutely brilliant’ ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.
“When he was a young horse we could not work Thistlecrack very well as he would always be a bit stiff behind,” Tizzard revealed.
“But now he is at his peak – he has been absolutely brilliant for the last five runs and he could easily have won at Punchestown when he got stopped and made up eight lengths from the last.
“At the moment, when he races, there doesn’t appear to be a bottom to him. He just powers away at the end.
“He looks better than anything else over three miles. I keep on thinking someone is going to bring back a very good chaser who will be really rampant on the day but they would need to be.
“Thistlecrack has been working beautifully and he looks like a chaser. He may be chasing next season.”
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