Thistlecrack can blow rivals away in the World Hurdle
Harry Preston | March 16, 2016
Colin Tizzard’s eight-year-old Thistlecrack has arguably been the most progressive horse this season winning all three races in dazzling fashion putting some useful rivals to the sword.
Winning on ground varying from good to heavy, this versatile gelding has been winning with seemingly quite a bit in hand and is a worthy even-money favourite with Coral in the World Hurdle on Day Three of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.
It is hard to see past Thistlecrack but Mouse Morris has a talented hurdler in Alpha des Obeaux (6/1) and could add to the list of Irish winners this week.
Saphir Du Rheu (9/1) and last year’s champion Cole Harden (6/1) reappear in what is a highly anticipated renewal of the Ryanair World Hurdle.
Tizzard sure of cracking performance
Thistlecrack has come on leaps and bounds since last season seeing off his races ruthlessly powering away from his rivals in the final half-mile.
He landed the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and the Long Walk at Ascot before romping home in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January which was arguably his most impressive performance to date.
The trainer from Sherbourne is very sweet on his chances stating that he “can’t see anything getting near to it”. His rivals do need to find something on the bare form and Thistlecrack is only getting better, which is why it would be no surprise to see him go off odds on.
A good hand for Nicholls
More of That beat hot favourite Annie Power in 2014 and Cole Harden’s victory at 14/1 last year was also wildly unexpected, so could we see another upset this year?
It looks like Paul Nicholls has the best chance of doing so. The 2015 renewal saw Saphir Du Rheu sent off 5/1 favourite and Nicholls is adamant that we are yet to see the best of this horse as he is only seven years old.
Cole Harden put in a flawless round of jumping to make all beating the favourite by three-and-a-half lengths. Does Nicholls’ staying hurdler represent a bit of value at nearly double the price?
Gelding Cole Harden will attempt to make all again and the forecasted good ground will favour the reigning champion and he might prove the main danger to the hot favourite.
Nicholls also saddles Coral Cup winner Aux Ptits Soins, who is an exciting prospect and remains unexposed, so we could see him following Thistlecrack home on Thursday.
The Irish challenge is spearheaded by Alpha Des Obeaux who has serious claims following a decisive victory at Gowran Park beating Martello Tower (25/1) into third.
Lieutenant Colonel also makes the trip over however he really needs to step up from recent his form to be in the mix here.
Nicky Henderson’s hopes lie with Whisper (12/1) who needed the race last year to put him on track for Aintree where he reversed the form with Cole Harden in the Liverpool Hurdle. He has been on the receiving end of a Thistlecrack demolition this season but shouldn’t be ruled out.
Henderson’s former Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth (40/1) is also entered as is At Fishers Cross (25/1) however neither have reproduced the form that they were once capable of.