Connections "gutted" as Thistlecrack ruled out of Cheltenham Gold Cup
Thistlecrack has been ruled out of the Gold Cup for the second year in a row.
The 2016 Stayers' hurdle winner has suffered a stress fracture, which will keep him out of the big race at the festival.
The 10-year-old has gone through an injury hell ever since that swashbuckling triumph at Pretsbury Park. The horse was ruled out for last season's showpiece after he picked up a tendon injury, one of the most dreaded injuries in horse racing.
Tendon injuries have ended the careers of numerous top racehorses. Those that do return to action often struggle, or only manage one or two outings before it acts up again or they suffer another injury.
It's all relative, and this injury may be a knock on effect of last year's setback.
After 11 months of recuperation, Colin Tizzard's horse made his return in a hurdle race in Newbury in early December this year. He disappointed that day, but he came through it unscathed, and that was a huge positive for the Dorset yard.
His next outing was in the King George on St. Stephen's Day, where he ran a blinder in defence of his title, finishing fourth behind Might Bite.
The Tizzards and jockey Tom Scudamore held out hope that the horse would come on hugely for that run, and would round into form for an assault at the Timico Gold Cup.
Only to hear the bad news this morning.
Assistant trainer, and daughter of Colin Tizzard, Kim, was visibly upset when interviewed by At The Races earlier today.
"He was a little bit stiff after the King George, and today, he had an X Ray, and yeah, we're gutted. He jumped really well and we were just getting excited that the old Thistlecrack is still there, and we were hopeful."
"Hopefully he'll have his rest and he'll be alright for next season."
"Gutted" - Kim Tizzard can't hide her disappointment as Thistlecrack is ruled out for the season: pic.twitter.com/YsOIWyjJX7
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) January 8, 2018
The news has led to many betting outlets altering their odds for the festival showpiece, with Irish raiders Road to Respect and Sizing John among those shortened.
— Paddy Power Offers (@PPOffers) January 8, 2018