Colin Tizzard star Thistlecrack tops 39 entries for the Cheltenham Gold Cup

    Ante-post favourite Thistlecrack is one of five possibles for trainer Colin Tizzard among a total of 39 entries for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 17.
  • Wednesday 11 January 2017
  • News

Ante-post favourite Thistlecrack is one of five possibles for trainer Colin Tizzard among a total of 39 entries for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 17.

Tizzard has an embarrassment of riches for the highlight of the Cheltenham Festival, with his impressive King George VI Chase hero Thistlecrack heading his team.

Eight-time Grade One hero Cue Card, Hennessy and Welsh National winner Native River, French import Alary and recent Cheltenham Grade Three winner Theatre Guide also feature for Tizzard.

Gordon Elliott also has five entries in the Grade One showpiece, but that number includes last year's hero Don Cossack, who was officially retired on Wednesday morning after suffering a setback in his recovery from injury.

While the news about Don Cossack emerged after the entry had been made, 2015 winner Coneygree does not feature, with connections having stated he will bypass the race earlier in the week.

Elliott's other entries include Don Poli, Empire Of Dirt, Outlander and Roi Des Francs.

Henry de Bromhead has three contenders in Champagne West, Sub Lieutenant and Valseur Lido, with Jonjo O'Neill also triple-handed at this stage with Minella Rocco, More Of That and Taquin Du Seuil.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has two possibles in Silviniaco Conti and Saphir Du Rheu, while Willie Mullins has entered dual runner-up Djakadam and the versatile mare Vroum Vroum Mag.

Former winner Lord Windermere, 2015 Hennessy hero Smad Place and Betfair Chase third Vezelay, from France, are among the other entries.

Also included is Zabana, who ran well in the Lexus Chase and will be hoping for better luck than at the Festival last year when he unseated Davy Russell at the start of the JLT Novices' Chase.

"Zabana is just ticking over at the moment and could run next in the Irish Gold Cup depending on the ground," said trainer Andrew Lynch.

"He went a bit wide in the Lexus and I think he will get closer to them next time. That's what I am hoping.

"He is in the Gold Cup and also in the Ryanair. We will just see how things work out between now and then. I would have no problem going for the Gold Cup as he loves Cheltenham and the trip will be no problem.

"Thistlecrack looks the real one in the Gold Cup. He is improving but apart from him, it looks quite open."

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