Thistlecrack out of Gold Cup

Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Thistlecrack will miss the remainder of the campaign after suffering a tendon injury.

Thistlecrack: Out of the Gold Cup

The dominant force in the staying hurdle division last season, the Colin Tizzard-trained nine-year-old won his first four starts over fences, including a scintillating victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Despite suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of the ill-fated Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham at the end of January, he remained at the head of the betting for the blue riband on March 17, but he will not line up at Prestbury Park next month.

Tizzard told Press Association Sport: "Thistlecrack is out for the season, unfortunately.

"He had a bit of heat in his leg last night and was a bit sore.

"We had the leg scanned this morning and he has a slight tear on his tendon.

"We've seen it at every yard and it happens every year."

Tizzard is still responsible for the favourite and second favourite for the race with Sky Bet, who make Native River their 3/1 market leader ahead of Cue Card at 4/1.

Djakadam is an 11/2 chance for Willie Mullins with fellow Irish raiders Outlander and Sizing John the only other horses at single figure prices, with both currently trading at 8/1 in a non-runner/no bet market.

Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "It's obviously very disappointing to lose Thistlecrack from the Gold Cup field and we are left with a very open betting heat. Native River is our new favourite ahead of Cue Card and it will be interesting to see which way punters go now."

Read More at Sporting Life

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