Classy Thistlecrack can rule World Hurdle for trainer Tizzard
David Metcalf | March 15, 2016
Thistlecrack ready to rule the World
Thistlecrack has taken his form to a new level this season and looks a worthy favourite to land the feature race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival, the World Hurdle (15.30).
The Colin Tizzard trained star gelding showed progressive form last season, and relished the step up to 3m when running out the wide margin winner of the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.
Thistlecrack looked staying hurdler going places, and that view has been confirmed with him winning his three starts in impressive fashion.
Form looks top class and rock solid
The eight-year-old destroyed a good field on return to action in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, travelling strongly throughout in the hands of jockey Tom Scudamore before taking up the running at the last and staying on strongly to beat Deputy Dan by six lengths.
Reigning World Hurdle champion Cole Harden finished a further 1/2 length back in third, and Thistlecrack was value for much more than the winning margin.
The son of Kayf Tara backed that up with an eight length drubbing of Reve De Sivola in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, and ran out a facile 12 length winner Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle on Festival Trials Day at this venue when last seen in action.
Thistlecrack is now clearly the real deal, and it is going to take a monster performance from something to prevent him landing this Grade 1 contest.
Alpha Des Obeaux the main threat
Alpha Des Obeaux also has a progressive profile and looks the obvious main danger to Thistlecrack.
Trained in Ireland by the shrewd Mouse Morris, the Gigginstown House Stud owned gelding chased home home the brilliant Douvan over an inadequate 2m at Punchestown last season, and was in the process of running a huge race in a Grade 1 contest over 3m at Aintree on his penultimate start last season when a length down and rallying only to grief at the last in a race eventually won by Thistlecrack.
The pair were miles clear of the rest when disaster struck, and to my mind the race was far from over and Alpha Des Obeaux would have given the winner plenty to think about had he stayed on his feet.
Drying ground a massive plus
There is not much to choose between the pair on that run, and Alpha Des Obeaux comes into the race having an impressive winner of the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park when last seen in action.
Despite connections fears that the very testing ground was against the six-year-old, he travelled and jumped supremely well throughout and after taking up the running two from home stretched clear to easily beat At Fishers Cross by 11 lengths.
The drying Cheltenham ground will be massively in Alpha Des Obeaux’s favour, and if Thistlecrack fails to live up to expectations he looks the one likely to take advantage.
Coral’s top tip: Thistlecrack is improving at a rate of knots and rates a solid bet to land the spoils. Alpha Des Obeaux looks sure to go well.