He was unraced at five and his owners originally missed out on buying him — how much do you know about Colin Tizzard's stable star?
1. Having impressed hugely over hurdles last season, the gelding made a remarkable debut over fences at Chepstow in October under Tom Scudamore — never coming off the bridle, he looked a different class to his rivals. Racing fans should watch out for him at Cheltenham’s Open meeting (11-13 November). His trainer Colin Tizzard is then aiming him at the Gold Cup at the Festival in March.
2. He has a brilliant stable name — Cracker. Not to be confused with his stablemate Cue Card’s pet name of Crackle.
3. He was unraced until he was five — which is a relatively late start for a racehorse. He recorded his first victory under Rules in a National Hunt Flat race in 2014 at Wincanton.
4. He is sired by Kayf Tara — a leading National Hunt stallion — and out of a mare called Ardstown.
5. His owners John and Heather Snook persevered when it came to buying him. They were outbid on him as a foal — however they finally managed to purchase him a few years later when he went to the sales as a three year old.
6. The gelding performed remarkably last year in the 2015/16 National Hunt season. He was unbeaten in five staying hurdle races, including three Grade Ones — Cheltenham’s World Hurdle, Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle and Aintree’s Liverpool Stayers’ Hurdle.
7. Each summer he enjoys a well-earned holiday back at his owners’ farm. According to Heather Snook he is “a delight to have around — so serene and professional.”
8. After the gelding’s chasing debut victory, his jockey Tom Scudamore described him as ‘phenomenal’. “Every horse is different, they are all individuals, but he is a mighty one. He can do things other horses can’t even dream of,” said Tom.
9. Throughout his career on the racecourse, he has won an impressive 10 races from his 15 starts.
Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s National Hunt special (3 November 2016), where we ask the experts what makes Thistlecrack just so impressive