Thistlecrack: Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite wins novices' chase
Thistlecrack took a successful first step towards the Cheltenham Gold Cup after winning a novices' chase.
Despite never jumping a steeplechase fence in public, the champion long distance hurdler is already favourite for the sport's top prize.
Trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by jockey Tom Scudamore, the eight-year-old put in a near-foot perfect round of jumping at Chepstow.
He beat Aqalim by four lengths over the 18 obstacles.
BBC Sport's horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght:
"It was more nervous anticipation than excitement as Thistlecrack arrived to jump his first steeplechase fence in public.
"But, taking advantage of the experience gained while jumping 150 times over obstacles placed in the indoor arena at Tizzard HQ in Dorset, he looked like an old pro and was pretty much foot perfect, though at the fourth last he had to show cleverness to, as they say, 'put himself right'.
"It was a brilliant, thrilling front-running display that keeps hopes about this horse in the future soaring."