Encouragement for Thistlecrack
Connections of Thistlecrack are taking the positives from his fourth-place finish in the King George at Kempton and now believe they could still have a Gold Cup horse on their hands.
Last year's brilliant Boxing Day winner, Thistlecrack came home behind Might Bite, Double Shuffle and Tea For Two at Kempton in the King George on his second start back from a tendon problem that had sidelined him for ten months.
His return to action over hurdles at Newbury had resulted in a fairly listless effort but Joe Tizzard, assistant trainer to father Colin, was much more upbeat on what he watched at Kempton.
How soon Thistlecrack appears again is yet to be decided.
"It was another step forward and we are getting there. It was another strong run and if hadn't clouted two out he might have been close to being second," said Tizzard.
"It was a solid run, but he was a tired horse the next day. He was laid down in his stable when I went to feed him.
"We haven't decided yet what we are going to do. The plan was we would like to get another run into him as he has only had the two so far. Whether or not one comes too soon, we will have to decide."
Tizzard does however believe that Thistlecrack can still lay claim to some Gold Cup aspirations and he is now 1000.00 to win the Blue Riband at Cheltenham in March.
He said: "On bare visual evidence, on the way he travelled and jumped in the King George, I do think he can win a Gold Cup.
"It is a job to gauge him at home, to be perfectly honest. You would like to think if he stepped forward as much as he did from his first run to his second run and if there is a bit more to come it doesn't put us too far away.
"The way he jumped and travelled, he certainly looked like the Thistlecrack of old."
King George winner Might Bite is now 5.00 to add the Gold Cup at Cheltenham while reigning champion Sizing John is trading at 667.00 following his below-par effort at Leopardstown last week.
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