Thistlecrack still the one to beat

Colin Tizzard remains up-beat that Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Thistlecrack will be the one to beat at the festivals big race next month.

After Thistlecrack had won the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, he was immediately made short-price favourite for the Gold Cup after what was a sterling display at Kempton.

But there was shock when Grand National winner Many Clouds lowered his colours in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham last month, before tragically collapsed afterwards,

Thistlecrack never gave up in his defeat to Many Clouds, but his trainer Colin Tizzard insists that he will need to improve ahead of the showpiece event at Prestbury Park next month.

“Hopefully he’ll be right back to that at Cheltenham.”

“Thistlecrack’s fine, he had a hard old race at Cheltenham,” he told Racing UK.

“I didn’t like to say much on the day because of what happened to poor old Many Clouds and we were beaten by a better horse on the day.

“He wasn’t as flamboyant as he can be, they’re not machines, but we’ve all visibly seen him jump more fluidly than that.

“Hopefully he’ll be right back to that at Cheltenham.”

Stick with Thistlecrack

We spoke with one of our own racing experts, leading bloodstock agent Paddy Barry, who firmly believes that it will take something special to beat Thistlecrack.

“Thistlecrack is still the one to beat, the stand out horse in the Gold Cup and I cannot see anything beating him, even taking into account the Many Clouds loss – he was a National winner so was always going to stay and Thistlecrack was not beaten much.

“Some question him up the hill and if the ground is really soft, which I can’t see, that may be an option but he remains the stand-out.”

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