Long Distance Hurdle plan for Thistlecrack before King George defence

Fri 27 Oct 2017

Thistlecrack is set for a prep run over hurdles ahead of his bid to defend his crown in the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Trainer Colin Tizzard is eyeing the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on December 1, which Thistlecrack won in 2016, as the best option before putting him back over the bigger obstacles.

Thistlecrack has not raced since losing out to Many Clouds in a pulsating and poignant race for the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January, and Tizzard has been building the nine-year-old up for a return to the fray.

"He went fast on Thursday for the first time. He has done very nearly three months of steady stuff, so he will have a month of fast stuff," said the Dorset handler.

"He will start off at Newbury over hurdles, then go for the King George. That's the plan. We've been there before with him and we just want to get a run in before the King George. I don't know where else we could run him."

Tizzard is looking to give Finian's Oscar his second run over fences at Cheltenham following his debut win over the bigger obstacles at Chepstow.

"I would have thought he will come to Cheltenham next month," he said.

"He is fine. He worked yesterday fast for the first time since Chepstow. He is a lovely horse."

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