Friday’s racing action from the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival sees the hotly-anticipated return of Thistlecrack in the Long Distance Hurdle.
Colin Tizzard’s stable star hasn’t raced since defeat to the late Many Clouds in the Trial Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January.
Prior to that loss the nine-year-old had won four from four over fences since switching from hurdles.
Who could forget that unforgettable display of jumping around Kempton when winning the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day last year?
He goes back hurdling on Friday where he has a record of eight wins from 11 races.
Our traders think he’ll gallop to victory and have him priced as the odds-on 5/6 favourite to mark his seasonal reappearance with a win.
In his way is Unowhatimeanharry at 13/8.
The gelding has been dynamite over hurdles since switching trainers to Harry Fry in October 2015.
In-fact the nine-year-old has lost just once for his new yard when third behind Nichols Canyon and Lil Rockerfeller in the Stayers’ Hurdle last March.
He’s a talented horse who will enjoy the conditions after racking up his first win of the new season at Aintree three weeks ago.
Last year’s winner will mount a serious challenge for an in-form trainer.
Wholestone comes next at a distant 9/1. He’s a dual-Grade 2 winner but is generally more at home around Cheltenham. This will be a tough race for a horse that disappointed on his reappearance at Wetherby.
Taquin Du Seuil and Colin’s Sister follow at odds of 10/1. The former has won just once in his last eight races, with all of those coming in high-class company. He’s the veteran of the field and not expected to challenge.
However, the latter of the pair could surprise a few. Colin’s Sister finished ahead of Wholestone at Wetherby earlier this month and recorded a 9l distance win over Happy Diva in a Grade 2 at Sandown last season. She won on her first attempt over 3m and is an intriguing proposition at the second-lowest weight.
Ptit Zig was comfortably beaten on the aforementioned race at Wetherby and will do well to be in the frame at 16/1.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.