Thistlecrack confirmed for Newbury

Thistlecrack is the star name among nine entries for the bet365 Novices' Chase at Newbury on Saturday.

Thistlecrack: Set for more chasing practice this weekend

The Grade Two contest, better known as the Worcester Novices' Chase, was reopened for 24 hours after having failed to attract sufficient entries on Monday.

Having dominated the staying hurdle division last season, Thistlecrack has made an impressive start to his career over fences, with two comfortable victories confirming his place as ante-post favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

His potential opponents include the Paul Nicholls-trained pair of Arpege D'Alene and Ibis Du Rheu and Lucy Wadham's impressive Kempton scorer Potters Legend.

Emerging Force is two from two over fences for Harry Whittington, but is "unlikely" to chase the hat-trick at Newbury.

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Whittington said: "We know he's a better horse on better ground and we'd want to have everything in our favour to be taking on a horse like Thistlecrack.

"I'd imagine we'll leave it, but but we've left him in the race to keep our options open.

"It's always good to be open-minded in this game.

"There's a Grade Two at Doncaster in a couple of weeks' time (December Novices' Chase, December 10) and there's a class two race at Cheltenham the day before.

"He's a horse that's better when he's fresh, so another couple of weeks wouldn't do him any harm."

Bigbadjohn and Our Kaempfer could renew rivalry after finishing first and second respectively over course and distance earlier in the month.

Pinnacle Panda and Tajseer complete the confirmations.

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