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2016 World Hurdle runners - The full field for Thursday's big race at Cheltenham

Jon Wilde in Thur. 16th March 16 Mar 2016
  • A field of 12 will line up for the 2016 Ryanair World Hurdle
  • Get the latest on the Cheltenham Festival Thursday highlight
Thistlecrack jumps the last flight on the way to victory (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

Thistlecrack heads a field of 12 runners for the Ryanair World Hurdle, the highlight of St Patrick’s Thursday at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

Colin Tizzard's eight-year-old has excelled in the staying division this term, winning the category’s three biggest events in the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival at Newbury, Ascot and the Cleeve Hurdle on Trials Day over the same course and distance as Thursday’s showpiece.

A novice last season who won a Grade 1 event at Aintree, Thistlecrack missed the 2015 Cheltenham Festival but will be ridden there this time by Tom Scudamore who had a winner on the opening day of the meeting.

Cole Harden, who won this race 12 months ago for trainer Warren Greatrex and jockey Gavin Sheehan, is again in the field. He finished third behind Thistlecrack on his seasonal debut in the Newbury Long Distance Hurdle in November.

Last year's runner-up Saphir Du Rheu is back for another go and will be joined in the line-up by his long-absent Paul Nicholls-trained stable companion Aux Ptits Soins, who won the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival on his first start since being bought from France.

Nicholls, who won the World Hurdle four times with Big Buck’s in the same Andy Stewart colours that will be carried by Saphir Du Rheu, now aims to pull off another magnificent training feat by producing Aux Ptits Soins to win at the Cheltenham Festival after 372 days off the track.

Sam Twiston-Davies rides Saphir Du Rheu, while Nick Scholfield takes the mount on Aux Ptits Soins.

At Fishers Cross and Whisper finished fourth and fifth respectively last season and are again back in the hunt but Un Temps Pour Tout, who was sixth on that occasion, is highly unlikely to take his chance having won the Ultima Handicap Chase on Tuesday, leaving a final field of 12.

Whisper will be accompanied by his Nicky Henderson-trained stable companion Bobs Worth, the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner who has appeared to be in decline.

Charlie Longsdon has declared Kilcooley, with 13-year-old Knockara Beau set to fly the flag for George Charlton.

The Irish contingent is bolstered by Alpha Des Obeaux (Mouse Morris), Lieutenant Colonel (Sandra Hughes) and Martello Tower (Mags Mullins).


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2016 World Hurdle runners - The full field for Thursday's big race at Cheltenham

Thistlecrack heads a field of 12 runners for the Ryanair World Hurdle, the highlight of St Patrick’s Thursday at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

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