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Colin Tizzard says there is a chance that Thistlecrack will make his seasonal reappearance over hurdles before going to Kempton to defend his King George VI Chase crown.
Thistlecrack was a breathtaking winner of the Boxing Day showpiece last year, maintaining an unbeaten record over fences as he landed a first Grade One chase in the process.
The following month he would narrowly lose that record, going down by the slenderest of margins to the ill-fated Many Clouds on Trials Day at Cheltenham.
His Gold Cup hopes were then dashed by a tendon injury that ended his season prematurely. The nine-year-old is now back in work at Tizzard’s base in Dorset and he will have just one run before returning to Kempton at Christmas, says his trainer.
“We found some heat in his leg after his defeat by Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase and discovered it was minor tear to his tendon,” Tizzard told At The Races.
“It was enough to stop us going for the Gold Cup but he is one of the best horses I have trained. “He is back cantering and will have one run before the King George.
There is a possibility that his prep run could be over hurdles. He was brilliant in the King George last year and hopefully we can get him back there in the same form.”
Winner of the Stayers Hurdle at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, Thistlecrack’s brilliant start to his chasing career last term saw him promoted to ante-post favouritism for the Gold Cup, despite his novice status, before injury sidelined him.
He is currently the 6.00 favourite for this season’s Gold Cup, just ahead of reigning champion Sizing John at 7.00.