Racing tips: Thistlecrack is the one to beat in World Hurdle

Jockey Nico de Boinville celebrates on board Sprinter Sacre after winning. Picture: Getty
Jockey Nico de Boinville celebrates on board Sprinter Sacre after winning. Picture: Getty
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Thistlecrack looks absolutely bombproof in today’s Ryanair World Hurdle.

Colin Tizzard’s eight-year-old progressed at a rate of knots last season and this campaign he has stamped himself as the pre-eminent staying hurdler bar none. The fact he is not odds-on everywhere is probably down to the fact he is not trained by a powerhouse stable like Willie Mullins, Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson - yet come the end of the week Tizzard could be celebrating wins in two of the four championship events with Cue Card still to come.

Thistlecrack was getting the better of Alpha Des Obeaux when that one fell at Aintree in the Sefton last April, so it is hard to see him turning the tables. He was then unlucky behind Killultagh Vic at the Punchestown Festival. Those two runs also answer the question about ability to handle quicker ground. This season has been a procession and at Newbury, Ascot and Cheltenham, he has simply looked in a different league to anything in the staying hurdling division.

It would be no surprise were he to run in the Gold Cup next year, given he is already eight, and he appears cut from the Dermot Weld cloth in being a stayer with speed.

The Ryanair Chase is much more of a cloudy picture but it may be worth hoping the step up in trip can help Vibrato Valtat return to winning ways. On his only outing over further than two miles this season in the Haldon Gold Cup he looked much more at home, cruising to victory.

Since then he has been banging his head against the best two-milers and while he has not been disgraced behind Sire De Grugy, Sprinter Sacre and Un De Sceaux et al, he would not win a Queen Mother.

He will be within his comfort zone at this trip and may have just sneaked under the radar.

CHELTENHAM

1:30 Zabana

2:10 Our Kaempfer

2:50 Vibrato Valtat

3:30 Thistlecrack (nap)

4:10 Stilletto

4:50 Limini

5:30 Silvergrove

CHELMSFORD

5:50 Ellaal

6:20 Dutch Garden

6:50 Crosse Fire

7:20 Freud

7:50 Alcanar

8:20 Heartsong

8:50 Kuanyao

HEXHAM

1:55 This Thyne Jude

2:35 Beau Marsh

3:15 Cheat The Cheater

3:55 Beer Goggles

4:35 Snuker

5:10 Surprise Vendor

5:40 The Pierre Lark

TOWCESTER

1:15 Sainte Ladylime

1:45 Royalraise

2:25 Steel City

3:05 Molly Oscar

3:45 Pret A Thou

4:25 Vasco Du Mee

5:00 Storm Alert:

DOUBLE

Thistlecrack

3:30 Cheltenham

Limini

4:50 Cheltenham