The Road to Cheltenham: Thistlecrack shortens considerably for the Gold Cup

Thistlecrack has shortened considerably for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham
Thistlecrack has shortened considerably for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham

Follow The Money are back with their antepost look at the Cheltenham Festival and note that Thistlecrack's odds have shortened considerably...


"Saturday saw the return of Cue Card, who last year failed in a bid to claim the Triple Crown in this very race. Still travelling well and in contention Cue Card came down three out and we were left to wonder what might have been."

Following on from last week's column detailing the movers in the Arkle and JLT chase, the main market movers this week are all involved in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The three runners we focus on this week, Thistlecrack, Cue Card and Irish Cavalier have all returned to action with varying degrees of success as reflected by their movements in the ante-post Markets.

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited return of the three horses was that of Thistlecrack. The Colin Tizzard trained 8yo entered a novice chase in Chepstow as a strong favourite, and did not disappoint as he put in a near perfect round of jumping to make the ideal start to his chasing career.

While this was not the strongest of races them manner in which Thistlecrack finished the race suggests there is plenty more to come from the four-time Grade 1 winning hurdler. Having been matched as big as 14.013/1 on the exchange he is now as short as 5.59/2, and should he keep improving may go off shorter than this on the big day.

Saturday saw the return of Cue Card, who last year failed in a bid to claim the Triple Crown in this very race. Still travelling well and in contention Cue Card came down three out and we were left to wonder what might have been.

His return to action this year was in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, a race he had won last year. Cue card could only manage third and for any other horse this would be a fine start to the season. He carried a 10lb penalty into the race and it was his first outing this season. These factors combined have to be taken into consideration when evaluating his performance.

Having been as short as 9.08/1 he has now drifted out to a price of 15.5 on the exchange, however it may be a bit too soon to write off Cue Card who started last season slow and went on to have an outstanding season and will certainly be looking to put right the mistake in the Gold Cup last year.

The horse who won this year's renewal of the Charlie Hall chase is none other than Irish Cavalier, the Rebecca Curtis-trained 7yo put in a gutsy performance around three miles to beat off strong competition from Menorah and Cue Card.

Having been sent off as big at 16/1 on the day Irish cavalier delivered a stellar performance and proved without a doubt he is capable of getting the trip required to compete at the highest level with Cheltenham form on his side may be one to watch at a bigger price. Irish Cavalier has been matched as big as 480.0479/1 on the exchange and following his latest exploits has been matched as low as 65.064/1.

If the Gold Cup is not to be for Irish Cavalier, Rebecca Curtis may also try her hand in the Ryanair Chase. The 2m 5f contest may prove an easier test for the 7yo and he has course form over 2m 4f. Having seen out the 3m trip in the Charlie Hall Chase there is no reason why he cannot do the same again in the Ryanair Chase. He is currently available at 21.020/1 having been matched as high as 90.089/1.


Cheltenham Gold Cup

Thistlecrack in from 14.013/1 into 5.59/2
Cue card out from 9.08/1 to 15.5
Irish Cavalier 480.0479/1 into 65.064/1


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