Cheltenham Festival: Morris keen to take on Thistlecrack again


Alpha Des Obeaux: won Grade 2 at Gowran Park last time out

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris (  

MOUSE MORRIS is relishing the opportunity to pit Alpha Des Obeaux against Thistlecrack in the Ryanair World Hurdle and see if the six-year-old can avenge his Aintree defeat last season.

Morris is not convinced Thistlecrack would have beaten Alpha Des Obeaux in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle last April, when a last-flight fall ended the argument early.

Alpha Des Obeaux was less than a length down when clipping the top of the final hurdle and getting rid of Richard Johnson and Morris thinks Colin Tizzard’s staying hurdle star would have had a real fight on his hands had his charge not crumbled.

“It was 50-50, it would have been a toss of a coin,” Morris said on Tuesday.

“My fella seemed to be coming back at him at the time. But look, he fell and the other one stayed on his feet so we will never know. Thistlecrack is a proper horse and has done very little wrong all year so we will have our work cut out.”

Date with destiny

Since that Sefton showdown, Thistlecrack has become the highest-rated stayer over hurdles with a mark of 168. Alpha Des Obeaux’s Irish mark of 155 might be 13lb lower but Morris reports the son of Saddler Maker to be in tip-top shape in the build up to his big date next Thursday. 

He added: “He has done his last few pieces of work and I have been very happy with him. We brought him away a couple of times and he didn’t disappoint. Hopefully he will get a nice bit of ground and we will see what he is made of. 

“I’m not really worried about the trip for him. I think he will stay. The only concern is whether he is good enough or not. We will find that out on the day.”


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