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Cheltenham Thursday picks: Thistlecrack to rule World Hurdle

16 Mar | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Cheltenham Thursday picks: Thistlecrack to rule World Hurdle

There's more top action on the penultimate day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, including the World Hurdle at 3.30

The staying hurdlers division looks to have a potential superstar in the making in the form of Thistlecrack.

He is due to take on 12 rivals in the World Hurdle (3.30) and is a 5/4 shot to get the job done.

While this may seem like shorts odds, he holds by far the best form this season and looks to have a brilliant chance.

He has already completed three wins this season, beating several of Thursday’s rivals in the process. He really has been a revelation since being stepped up to three miles.

He won the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December by eight lengths and looked mightily impressive in the process.

He then eliminated any fears regarding his ability to handle Cheltenham in January when winning on Festival Trials Day.

He won that Grade Two contest with ease and went down as a banker at the Festival for many. He is officially rated 4lbs clear of his closest rival and could still be improving.

The horse who may pose the biggest threat is Aux Ptits Soins at 16/1, although he has a big task on his plate with Thursday being his first run of the season.

However, he is somewhat of a relative unknown quantity. He has only had one start in England and that came when winning at last season’s Festival.

That may have only been in a handicap, but he could have improved any amount since last season. He is held in high regard by connections and he could be the one to give Thistlecrack a challenge.

Outlander looks a fantastic bet in the JLT

Outlander comes into the JLT (1.30) with some top quality Irish form and he looks like one of the more-overlooked horses in the Willie Mullins novice ranks.

He is currently a 9/2 chance and this represents excellent value.

He is three from three since taking to the larger obstacles and has jumped fantastically so far. This jumping should be a valuable asset around Cheltenham.

He beat a good quality field last time out in a Grade One at Leopardstown and a repeat of that performance should see him go close on Thursday.

His main challenger could be previous course winner Garde La Victoire, who is also a 4/1 chance. He recorded his win over fences at Cheltenham in November.

That win came over two miles but he should have no problems with the longer trip on Thursday. Previous to his novice chase wins, he was a good performer over hurdles.

He has previously won a Greatwood Hurdle around Cheltenham and seems to act well at the track He was formally rated 154 over hurdles and, if converting his best form to fences, he could be a real threat.

Leave At Dawn to leave his rivals behind in Pertempts Final

JP McManus looks like he could hold the key in the Pertempts Final (2.10) with the powerful owner owning many of the more-favoured rivals.

Barry Geraghty opts to ride Leave At Dawn and he looks the perfect suit for a race of this nature. He is available at odds of 6/1.

He was an impressive winner at Cheltenham in November and was very well backed that day. He then went on to run a very respectable fifth in a competitive handicap in Ireland.

He looks like an improving horse and could be better than his current mark. For that reason he is taken as the selection in this very competitive handicap hurdle.

Another horse with a good chance is If In Doubt at 11/1. He was well fancied for the Hennessy Gold Cup earlier in the season but was let down by his jumping.

His jumping does not hold as many fears over hurdles and he could go close on Thursday. He won last time and looks sure to appreciate a fast-paced three miles.

Cheltenham betting

*Odds and amounts correct at time of publication but subject to change. See site for latest.

READ: Richard Johnson: Garde La Victoire is my best chance of the day

READ: Davy Russell: Drier ground will help Zabana in the JLT – now we have the acid test