Thistlecrack heads to Chepstow
Colin Tizzard insists Thistlecrack is "ready to run" as the star of the last National Hunt season is set to begin a new career over fences at Chepstow on Tuesday.
Thistlecrack (L) is set to make his chase debut
Unbeaten in all of the leading staying hurdles last term, including in the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, he is already favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, despite not yet having jumped a fence in public.
He was due to make his debut at Chepstow a fortnight ago, however Tizzard deemed the ground to have been too quick.
But he now feels the extra time has just helped him get his stable star even closer to peak fitness ahead of the Aspen Waite Complete Business Growth Service Novices' Chase over just shy of three miles.
"I think the extra couple of weeks have been a help to him, to be honest," said the Dorset handler, who has his horses firing on all cylinders.
"I think he's a bit more ready now than he was then. He's working well and he's fit and hard.
"We've had quite a good time of it of late. I was a bit concerned we were having too many seconds, so it was nice to have three winners on Sunday.
"He's ready to run. Hopefully the ground will be fine and we'll see what happens.
"With any novice that's jumping fences for the first time you just hope they have a clear round and everything goes well, but we can't say that with horses like him and Cue Card as the expectations are so high."
Thistlecrack faces four rivals, with Philip Hobbs' Saddlers Encore, a three-time winner over hurdles, and the Tim Vaughan-trained Aqalim taking him on.