Many primed for ‘crack showdown

Many Clouds is firmly on course for a clash with Thistlecrack in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Many Clouds is on course to take on Thistlecrack

Oliver Sherwood's 2015 Grand National hero was runner-up to Smad Place in the Grade Two contest 12 months ago, before winning at Kelso to set up a return to Aintree.

The 10-year-old disappointed when bidding for back-to-back victories in the world's most famous steeplechase, but having undergone a wind operation during the summer, he made a flying start to the new campaign at Aintree in December.

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Sherwood reports his charge to be in rude health ahead of his return to Prestbury Park this weekend, where he will find brilliant King George VI Chase winner and Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Thistlecrack lying in wait.

"He did his last bit of routine work this morning and Leighton (Aspell) is going to come and pop him over some fences on Thursday," Sherwood told At The Races.

"He popped over some fences last week and we haven't missed a beat really since Aintree. We had a little hiccup over Christmas when he was going to go to Ireland, his trach (wash) just wasn't 100 per cent, and it was a long way to go for a question mark.

"He's been a star for us and we're just looking forward to Saturday."

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