LAST SEASON’S King George VI Chase winner Thistlecrack will make his eagerly-anticipated return to motion within the Ladbrokes Lengthy Distance Hurdle at Newbury on Friday.
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Colin Tizzard’s famous person former World Hurdle winner has been absent from the monitor since January after an damage curtailed his daring novice chasing marketing campaign.
While the Dorset handler is assured Thistlecrack is match sufficient to do himself justice, he accepts that he’s prone to come on for his run again over the smaller obstacles on the Berkshire course.
Tizzard mentioned: “Thistlecrack has finished loads of work and is able to run.
“He is certain to enhance, however he has been on to go for a while now and we’re very proud of him.
“He had a soar on the grass on Wednesday and he is able to get began.”
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Tizzard is under no illusions about the task facing his nine-year-old charge, with Harry Fry’s defending champion Unowhatimeanharry in opposition.
“There wouldn’t be much between them, I wouldn’t have thought,” the trainer added.
“We couldn’t go for the King George without a run, so he goes to Newbury and, all being well, he’ll then head to Kempton.”
The JP McManus-owned Unowhatimeanharry has won 10 of his 11 starts since joining Fry, suffering his only defeat when third in last season’s Stayers’ Hurdle.
He returned to action with a victory at Aintree earlier this month in a small but competitve three-runner affair.
He told At The Races: “He’s been perfect (since Aintree). That race came along just at the right time as we could get him away and help put the finishing touches on for this weekend. He’s come out of that absolutely bouncing.
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“We’ve got to give 6lb to Thistlecrack and a number of other horses in the race, but we go there full of confidence.
“Thistlecrack is a wonderful horse and we’ve enjoyed watching all his success. Now we meet him with our own stable star, so it’s going to be a fascinating renewal of the race.”
The exciting Grade Two is not just a two-runner race, with the one-two from the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby also declared.
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Wholestone, representing the in-form Nigel Twiston-Davies, was runner-up to Fergal O’Brien’s classy mare Colin’s Sister and both horses will be hoping to upset the two at the head of the market.
Anthony Bromley, racing manager for Wholestone’s owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: “Friday’s race looks a Grade One in all but name. Even with the rise (for finishing second at Wetherby), Wholestone is still 15lb off Thistlecrack’s rating and we have got to give him 3lb.
“I thought Unowhatimeanharry looked good at Aintree the other day when he beat Top Notch, and we have got form to turn around with Colin’s Sister.
“It looks a tough engagement for Wholestone but it is the only one we can do, other than waiting for level weights in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot next month.”
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Taquin Du Seuil and Beer Goggles from Richard Woollacott’s yard complete the six-strong line-up.