Favourite Thistlecrack ruled out of Cheltenham Gold Cup

"Sadly Thistlecrack will miss the Gold Cup and we will leave it up to punters to decide between Cue Card and Native River which one they want to make the clear favourite but at present we can not separate the Colin Tizzard pair".

Trainer Colin Tizzard's stable star Thistlecrack's hopes of landing the blue riband of jump racing the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year are over as an injury Tuesday ruled him out for the rest of the season.

"They just found a little bit of heat in his leg and it might be that he feels better in a week or two, but you'd be risking everything if you carried on".

Tizzard said: 'Thistlecrack is out for the season, unfortunately.

Thistlecrack won his first four starts over fences, including in the prestigious King George VI Chase at Kempton on December 26.

Cue Card, another Tizzard-trained prospect, and 2015 Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam are also challengers.

"Thistlecrack is out", the trainer is quoted as saying by the Racing Post. Scudamore may now be left without a ride in the Gold Cup.

While his run of nine consecutive wins was brought to an end by Many Clouds at Cheltenham last month, Thistlecrack's reputation was arguably enhanced by that effort against a rival of extraordinary toughness, who died moments after crossing the line.

Thistlecrack is the latest big name absentee from this year's Festival, joining Faugheen, Annie Power, Coneygree, Min and the retired Don Cossack on the sidelines.

  • Julie Sanders