Thistlecrack will not run in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup after sustaining a leg injury, leaving the door open for the Festival showcase in a few weeks’ time (17 March).
The Colin Tizzard-trained gelding has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a tendon injury.
The trainer revealed he was not 100% happy with the chasing superstar after evening stables on Monday — a scan today (Tuesday, 21 February) confirmed the bad news.
“We weren’t happy with him last night, so he had a scan this morning which showed a slight tear to the tendon — he will be out for the rest of the season,” Colin told H&H.
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The son of Kayf Tara — who was 7-4 favourite for the Gold Cup — has been taking the National Hunt scene by storm, with his impressive leaps and turn of foot.
Even though he was still a novice chaser, the nine-year-old, claimed the prestigious King George VI Chase at Kempton Park over the festive period.
Ridden by Tom Scudamore, who has partnered him in 12 starts, Thistlecrack suffered his first defeat of the season, when beaten by Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January.
The gelding, who is owned by John and Heather Snook, has amassed 13 wins from his 19 starts and was on track to make his debut run in the Gold Cup — having triumphed in the World Hurdle at last year’s Festival.
His Dorset trainer was in the enviable position of having a trio of stars entered for the feature race at this year’s Festival. He will now go to the Gloucestershire tracked armed with ammunition in the form of Cue Card, a recent winner at Ascot, and this season’s Hennessy and Welsh National winner, Native River. The latter has now replaced Thistlecrack as the best-priced 3-1 market leader for the substantial prize-pot.
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Don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse&Hound magazine — out Thursday, 23 February