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Thistlecrack to sidestep Charlie Hall with Bristol De Mai also unlikely runner

Thistlecrack: will not be in action this weekend
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Thistlecrack's seasonal reappearance has been delayed, with connections deciding against running the ten-year-old in Saturday's bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, in which Bristol De Mai is also an unlikely starter.

Not seen on track since finishing fourth in last season's King George VI Chase at Kempton with a stress fracture keeping him on the sidelines since then, Thistlecrack was on course to return to action in the Grade 2 at Wetherby, but the going is not considered suitable.

The official ground description at the course on Thursday morning is good, and while rain is forecast it is not expected to be of a significant enough volume to ease conditions, which is what connections want for Thistlecrack.

Joe Tizzard, son and assistant to trainer Colin Tizzard, had warned earlier in the week that the ground was a worry, and said on Thursday morning: "We've made the decision not to run, the horse is in lovely form but the ground's not good enough for us."

Tizzard added that an alternative target for Thistlecrack had yet to be decided. 

Declarations for the Charlie Hall will be revealed on Friday morning, and Nigel Twiston-Davies told Racing UK on Thursday that Bristol De Mai was also an unlikely runner at Wetherby.

The trainer said: "He's very unlikely I'm afraid – lack of rain. If they have a lot of rain it could change, but just on watered good ground, probably not.

"I think it [the decision] will probably be made before declaration time, that we won't be going. I'll be talking to the owners tomorrow morning, that's when we'll decide."

The trainer added that Bristol De Mai may possibly go straight to Haydock for the Betfair Chase – a race he won by 57 lengths last season – if, as expected, he does not run at Wetherby.

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We've made the decision not to run, the horse is in lovely form but the ground's not good enough for us
E.W. Terms