Thistlecrack could renew rivalries with Paisley Park in the Marsh Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday week as an alternative to running in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase.
The Grade One contest, better known as the Long Walk Hurdle, is under consideration for the Colin Tizzard-trained 11-year-old who claimed the three-mile prize back in 2015.
Thistlecrack pulled-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his final start last season but made an encouraging return to action when finding only Paisley Park too strong on his return in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.
Joe Tizzard, son and assistant trainer, said: “We’ve stuck him in the Long Walk and that is a possibility. He has come out of the Newbury race fine.
“I think Paisley Park will take an awful lot of beating but the Long Walk could be an easier option.
“Paisley Park is sure to improve for the run but we will improve for it as well.
“The King George is looking red-hot and we want to cover all basis. It will be one or the other and we’ll leave the decision until the last minute.”
Stablemate Elixir De Nutz, who has not been sighted since winning the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January, could make his eagerly anticipated return from injury on the same Ascot card in the Betfair Exchange Trophy.
Tizzard said: “I don’t think we will look at the International (at Cheltenham) for him and I’d say the Ascot race is the more likely target.
“We took him for a gallop at Newbury last Sunday and he galloped very well but we want to do another piece of work with him and see how fit he is.
“He is a smart horse and we want to make him into a Champion Hurdle horse. “