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Published: 10:41 | 4/8/16

Thistlecrack to tackle fences


World Hurdle winner Thistlecrack is to be campaigned over the larger obstacles this season with trainer Colin Tizzard not ruling out a crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The eight-year-old won all five of his starts last season, rounding off the campaign with victories in the World Hurdle and the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree's Grand National meeting.

Connections have decided to try him over fences and he could make his chasing bow as early as October, providing the ground is suitable.

"He's been back in for about three weeks, doing a bit of roadwork, and we might give him a little canter next week," Tizzard said.

"He's looking superb and we want to have him ready to run when the ground changes in the second or third week in October.

"We're looking at the Chepstow novice chase we ran Cue Card and Native River in over two and a half miles, but that will obviously be ground dependant."

Thistlecrack could be aimed at the Cheltenham Gold Cup but his trainer has warned that he could revert to hurdles if he fails to convince over the larger obstacles.

"He is a bit older than a lot of horses that go novice chasing - he's not a five-year-old, rising six," Tizzard explained. "I think he's one of the favourites for the Gold Cup already, so we'll see how we go.

"That's why we wanted to have him ready to go early. Hopefully he'll have two runs in novice chases fairly quick before we step him up in class.

"If for any reason he wasn't looking quite as good over fences as he is over hurdles, we could switch him back for the second half of the season.

"There aren't many staying hurdles he could run in on the run-up to Christmas, so we'll start over fences and if it doesn't go to plan, we can always go back over hurdles."

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