Grand National Festival: Thistlecrack to turn on the style in Stayers’ Hurdle
David Metcalf | April 8, 2016
Thistlecrack looks a cut above in Stayers’ Hurdle
Thistlecrack has proved a revelation this season and looks a worthy red-hot favourite to land another Grade 1 success in the Liverpool Stayers’ Hurdle on Grand National day at Aintree (15.40).
The Colin Tizzard trained gelding 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.
Thistlecrack backed that up with an eight length drubbing of Reve De Sivola in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, before running out a facile 12 length winner Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle on Festival Trials Day.
Scintillating success in World Hurdle
The eight-year-old then put in a breathtaking performance when toying with his rivals to land the Grade 1 World Hurdle at last month’s Cheltenham Festival in scintillating style.
After being held-up in mid-division, Thistlecrack cruised into second place three from home and shot clear from two out to beat Alpha Des Obeaux by seven lengths.
The turn of pace shown to put the race to bed was electric, and Thistlecrack had a strong field of stayers strung out like washing.
To me it was the most impressive display during the four-days of the Festival, and Thistlecrack is impossible to oppose in this line-up.
Different Gravey the forecast choice
With Alpha Des Obeaux swerving a rematch, Different Gravey looks the one most likely to chase home Thistlecrack.
The Nicky Henderson trained gelding is a lightly-raced and progressive sort who has won four of his five starts under rules.
In the last of those the six-year-old posted a career best effort when storming clear to impressively land a competitive handicap hurdle at Ascot by 16 lengths.
It was a terrific performance off top weight of 11st 12lb, and one which oozed class.
This represents a huge step up in class, but Different Gravey clearly has a huge engine and has the potential to make his mark at this level.
For more Grand National Festival race tips and previews, check out our Aintree page.
Coral’s top tip: Thistlecrack is impossible to oppose following his stunning success in the World Hurdle. Different Gravey can chase him home.