Thistlecrack to be aimed at the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup

Colin Tizzard last night revealed Ladbrokes World Hurdle favourite Thistlecrack will aimed at the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup next year.

Thistlecrack confirmed himself the best staying hurdler in training with an empathic 12-length victory in Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and is the hot favourite the win the World Hurdle.

Tizzard, however, says the Gold Cup is the long-term aim for the eight-year-old.

“I spoke about it with John and Heather (Snook, owners) the other night,” Tizzard said.

“Winning three-mile hurdles is fine and you wouldn’t take that away from any horse, but the ultimate aim is to win a Gold Cup.

“I’m sure, if he carries on like he is and ends the season well, John and Heather will want to go for it and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t.”

Tizzard said Thistlecrack has already been schooled over fences and looks a natural over fences.

“You watch his jumping, his technique is fantastic,” Tizzard said. “He jumps anything you put in front of him. We schooled him over fences last year and he was good.”

Tizzard added: “The Gold Cup is the greatest race. For me and most people in racing, it’s the pinnacle and I’m sure that’s the route he’ll take.”

Elsewhere, Nicky Richards is eyeing the Newlands Chase over two miles at Naas on February 21 for his smart performer Simply Ned.

Richardsis looking at more realistic options for the nine-year-old, who was last of five behind Un De Sceaux in the Grade One Clarence House Chase at Ascot last month.

Before that, Simply Ned was almost handed a Grade One contest at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting after Un De Sceaux had fallen, but was caught close home by Flemenstar.

“He’s in good order and he might go to Naas in a fortnight,” said Richards.

“It’s the kind of race it’s a shame we don’t have more of in this country. It’s a similar race to the Game Spirit (at Newbury) and it’s £47,000 (€60,000) added.”

Simply Ned is unlikely to take up his entry in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

“I think we’ll probably forget about Cheltenham and maybe Aintree as well and go back to Ireland later on at Punchestown or there’s a handicap at Ayr,” said the trainer.

“There are two or three little options.

“Let’s not kid ourselves. If he was in the first two or three in the betting at Cheltenham you’d be wanting to have a crack, but he’s 33-1 or something so he probably won’t be there.”

Meanwhile, Oliver Sherwood has switched Deputy Dan’s sights to the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday week after an intended outing at Ffos Las was lost to the weather.

Sherwood felt everything was in Deputy Dan’s favour for the Welsh Champion Hurdle, but incessant rain meant the meeting had to be abandoned.

Instead, the Grade Two run as the Betfred “Home Of Goals Galore” Hurdle is his likely port of call with Fontwell another option.

“It’s more than likely that he’ll go for the Rendlesham,” said Sherwood.

“It was a shame what happened on Saturday but what can you do.”


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