The World Hurdle is a Grade 1 event over just under 3m. It is a race that the British have dominated and that looks set to continue again in 2016. Thistlecrack is a short priced favourite and looks very difficult to oppose.
The front four in the market have a cracking record in this race and front runners very rarely win!
It would take a very brave man to bet against Thistlecrack winning this race. I've spoke to many experts and Thistlecrack is their idea of the 'banker of the festival'. I'm not quite sure that I'd go quite that far but I do agree that Thistlecrack looks a good thing in this race. He won the most important trial for this race over by 12l's. That was over course and distance where he gave 8lb to almost the whole field. His main rivals are both Irish trained horses and they've only won this race twice in 20 years. Colin Tizzard has been worried that someone might send a chaser back over hurdles to try to beat Thistlecrack but that doesn't look likely to happen, maybe they are all scared of Thistlecrack? I think we'll see this horse over fences next season but before that I think we'll see him win this race very impressively.
Last years World Hurdle winner needs good ground to have absolutely any chance of beating Thistlecrack and even then I still think he finishes runner up at best. Trainer Warren Greatrex has said that he's trained Cole Harden all season to be ready for this race and providing the ground is good or good to soft I think this horse gives Thistlecrack the most problems. He won this race last year after finishing 4th in the Cleeve Hurdle, he was behind Saphir Du Rheu that day on soft ground. He then showed that good ground is key when turning the form book on its head back on better ground in this race 12 months ago. I'd say that this horses chances are totally ground dependant. If its soft then forget it, if its good ground then Cole Harden has a genuine each way chance.
SAPHIR DU RHEU
Saphir Du Rheu is a 7 year old trained by Paul Nicholls. He was last years runner up behind Cole Harden and would prefer the ground to be on the soft side of good. Paul Nicholls says that this horse is not ground dependant but if it was good ground then he'd do well to beat Cole Harden let alone Thistlecrack. Colin Tizzard's horse has already been Saphir Du Rheu out of site and in all honesty I think the best that this horse can hope for is a place.