Thistlecrack: King George VI Chase winner rated top novice

Thistlecrack on his way to winning the King George VI Chase at Kempton

Thistlecrack has been given the highest handicap rating for a novice after his King George VI Chase win on Boxing Day.

The 10-year-old is rated at 171, five more than Coneygree was before his Gold Cup success in 2015.

Thistlecrack was competing in just his fourth race over fences when he swept aside Cue Card in the King George.

"He really is showing all the signs of being exceptional," said Phil Smith, the British Horseracing Authority's senior handicapper.

Thistlecrack made his chasing debut in October, and trainer Colin Tizzard is planning one more race for his stable star, probably at Cheltenham on 28 January, before heading to the Gold Cup at the same course on 17 March.

Kauto Star, winner of two Cheltenham Gold Cups and a record five King Georges, was rated 193 at his peak.

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