Thistlecrack: Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite wins again over jumps

Thistlecrack went off as the 1-7 favourite in a four-horse race
Thistlecrack went off as the 1-7 favourite in a four-horse race

Last season's champion staying hurdler Thistlecrack made it two wins from as many steeplechase races with a convincing victory at Cheltenham.

The eight-year-old, the favourite for March's Cheltenham Gold Cup, was a 1-7 winner under Tom Scudamore.

Trainer Colin Tizzard said: "If you don't get excited with a horse like this, then you need to be stone cold dead in a coffin."

Later, Taquin Du Seuil beat Village Vic to win the featured Betvictor Gold Cup.

Village Vic (20-1), ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson, led for much of the race and jumped the last in front.

But Aidan Coleman and the 8-1 Taquin Du Seuil, who won at the Cheltenham Festival in 2014, dug in to overhaul the leaders.

It was a third success in the race for trainer Jonjo O'Neill.

"I've had a terrible few weeks," said the winning jockey. "I broke my cheekbone and I haven't had a winner since Third Intention in the Old Roan at Aintree in October.

"It's been a nightmare with injuries and everything, but this is great and I could not be happier for Jonjo and his team at Jackdaws Castle."

Buywise (12-1), runner-up to Annacotty 12 months ago, stayed on for third two lengths back, with Aso (14-1) fourth.

However, there was disappointment for O'Neill with More of That, the 2014 World Hurdle winner, who was pulled up by Barry Geraghty when out of contention.

Thistlecrack had earlier delighted his trainer with an ultimately convincing victory.

Tizzard indicated the eight-year-old is likely to line up at Newbury in two weeks' time to gain more jumping practice.

"If we are going to go big after Christmas, he needs a bit more experience," Tizzard told BBC Radio 5 live.

Analysis

Cornelius Lysaght, BBC Radio 5 live racing correspondent

It's no surprise those around Thistlecrack are thinking of having a previously unscheduled race in a fortnight to get more experience into this most exciting of rookie chasers.

In the process of winning his second steeplechase from two starts, there were four or five moments of slight alarm around the 19-obstacle course, when the horse basically took too much of a risk.

Trainer Colin Tizzard described it as exuberance - which doesn't matter as such - but leaves little margin for error, especially when the stakes are rather higher than Saturday's four-horse race.

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