Thistlecrack looks set to be aimed at the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival in March after winning his debut over fences at Chepstow this afternoon (25 October).
The popular 2016 Cheltenham Festival Ryanair World Hurdle winner, ridden by Tom Scudamore, led the five-strong field from the start, jumping cleanly to take the Aspen Waite Novices’ Chase by several lengths.
Following the race, trainer Colin Tizzard said the plan is now to take the eight-year-old to The Open meeting at Cheltenham in November.
“This is just the start — this was a real, good school round and now he needs to just go up through,” Colin told At The Races.
“If we are going to go for the Gold Cup, we need to know he can jump round Cheltenham don’t we?
“A nice little novice chase with half-a-dozen runners will be perfect for him.”
Speaking in the winners enclosure, he added that Thistlecrack “thoroughly enjoys” his jumping.
“It was absolutely perfect jumping for a novice,” he said.
“He has the potential to do anything — this has gone very well, the next stop will be Cheltenham [in two weeks].”
Tom, who also rode Thistlecrack to his World Hurdle victory in March, said it is “wonderful to be associated” with the “phenomenal” horse.
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“He was fantastic, wasn’t he?” he told press after the race.
“He just did everything asked of him all the way through.
“He was neat and nimble, since the word go at home chasing has always been his game. No matter what you do with him at home, it is on the course that matters and I have ridden many horses that have been a natural at home and you wouldn’t believe they have ever seen an obstacle when you get on the course, and visa-versa.
“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.”
Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s National Hunt special, on sale Thursday 3 November — we profile Colin Tizzard’s stable star in ‘Horse Hero’.