The veteran superstar Thistlecrack is back for another season and is said to be in fine form his assistant trainer Joe Tizzard reports, with the now 12 year old set to start his season off in next month’s Marsh Hurdle at Ascot.
2016 King George VI Chase winner Thistlecrack is back for another term to the surprise of many, with the veteran looking to now have his best days behind him.
The 12 year old has not been seen for over a year now with his clash at Newbury with Paisley Park in the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle his last start on a track, when just narrowly being seen off by the star staying hurdler.
Thistlecrack is a Cheltenham festival winner landing the Stayers Hurdle in 2016 and also in the same year went on to land the prestigious Boxing Day King George VI Chase at Kempton in his first season over fences.
Having been pulled up at Cheltenham before that start in the 2019 Gold Cup, it does look that he will be started over hurdles to begin with and then aim to send him back over fences, with confidence a big thing for this horse.
(Credit ATR) Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard said: “He is back in and loving life, but he is not quite ready to go yet. He is still so popular and is a real favourite in our yard.
“I think the Newbury race at the end of the month he finished second in last year is likely to come too soon as he was a bit later in.
“He might go to the Long Walk or something like that, but we just have to take it day by day with him.
It is intriguing to see what the yard end up doing with the veteran, with the horse not having won since 2016 at Kempton, but the yard still believe he has plenty of ability.
He added: “He is not a horse that we will be putting pressure on to rush him as he is an old man and we will let him come to himself.
“He is doing everything right and is doing a lot of core fitness work on the gallops. He seems in lovely form at the moment.
“It’s only 12 months since he ran a blinder behind Paisley Park at Newbury, so the fire is still there.”