The eagerly awaited reappearance of one of the most loved chasers in the game, Thistlecrack, will have to wait a little longer. The plan for the horse was to come back in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday 3rd November. Those plans have been shelved due to the ground.
The going was described as good when the Tizzard’s decided to pull Thistlecrack out of the race. They were hoping for it to be on the soft side. This isn’t due to what the horse strictly needs as he has won on good ground in the past. To protect him they didn’t want him running on decent ground in his first race back. Especially with the Gold Cup later in the season!
It is a bitter blow for the Charlie Hall Chase. It would have been a fantastic renewal with the inclusion of a horse like Thistlecrack. But unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. The focus now turns to where he will go for his first run of the season. The plan was to go to Haydock for the Betfair Chase on the 24th November. That could now be his first run of the season instead of his second. That race will be tough, with Native River and Might Bite, the one-two from last season’s Gold Cup, also scheduled to appear there.
However, one thing that Thistlecrack will certainly get at Haydock is soft ground. Water goes into the surface at Haydock quicker than anywhere else. Often we see heavy ground throughout the jumps calendar at the North West track, due to how their drainage works. While this can often put horses off, it would certainly appeal to the Tizzard’s who want juice in the ground for a reappearance run.
There are few options in between for the horse to go somewhere else. Even if those options appeared, it would mean a small gap between the first and second runs for the horse, something that is best avoided.
There is also the lure of the £1 million bonus for horses that can win the Betfair Chase, King George and Gold Cup in the same season. This is incredibly tough to do. With the Betfair Chase being the first race of that treble, it makes sense to target it. Why not try to win the jackpot! Since the start of the £1 million bonus, entries in the Betfair Chase have improved dramatically which is no surprise.
We have to wait a little longer to see Thistlecrack return to action, and where that will be no one quite knows for certain. The Betfair Chase seems to be the favourite. However that would throw him in at the deep end on his first run back after injury. We await news in the build-up to that one. If it is, the Betfair Chase will be a race that you don’t want to miss out on at the end of November!