With horse racing fans across the UK mourning the death of one of the most successful steeplechasers of the modern era Vautour, the passing of the seven-year-old now means that Colin Tizzard’s Thistlecrack is the overwhelming favourite in the horse racing betting odds among bookmakers to win next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Vautour died after a freak accident at Willie Mullins’ County Carlow yard, and will go down in history, having won three times at Cheltenham, including the Ryanair Chase back in March.
Having won easily on his chasing debut at Chepstow recently, it will be survival of the fittest for World Hurdle winner Thistlecrack (7/2) in the big race to bet on at bookmakers Coral, with Coneygree now the second favourite in the horse racing odds for the 2017 Gold Cup. Despite some questioning the credentials of the eight-year-old over fences, Thistlecrack showed at Chepstow that he will be a challenger to any steeplechaser that stands in his way. A run out at Cheltenham before Christmas is now expected, with Tizzard suitably impressed for his prized asset to step out of novice company as soon as possible.
Despite Thistlecrack also featuring in the betting for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham with Coral, with horse racing betting odds of 3/1 on, the Gold Cup is likely to be favoured by Tizzard, with the likes of Don Cossack and Douvan also in contention. Trainer Gordon Elliott has recently suggested that reigning Gold Cup winner Don Cossack will return to action in January, in what could be his only start before attempting to defend his crown in March 2017. Having dominated at Cheltenham this year to win by four-and-a-half-lengths from Djakadam, the nine-year-old sustained a tendon injury during preparation for the Punchestown Gold Cup in April.
As for Douvan, owner Rich Ricci has revealed that the death of Vautour may mean a different approach for the six-year-old, with the Champion Chase rather than the Gold Cup a possibility. Douvan is offered evens odds by Coral for the Champion Chase, with Willie Mullins still deciding on when to unleash him back on the track. Mullins can afford to be patient with Douvan, however it is believed that the intention is for the seven-time Grade 1 winner to begin over a minimum distance, having achieved huge success last season.