Racing News 21 December 2015

There wasn’t too much big racing action this past weekend, but we did see Thistlecrack win the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. The Colin Tizzard trained favourite was priced at 2/1 coming in, and he went on to win the race by eight lengths.

After the race, Tizzard spoke of how happy he is with this run, and he talked about where the seven-year-old might appear next. “He is a big, strong, powerful horse and I was expecting that sort of performance and nothing less,” he said. “The Cleeve Hurdle comes at about the right time. It is five to six weeks away and he will go there then on to the Cheltenham Festival. I am sure that is the route we will take.”

The Sports Personality of the Year awards took place in Belfast on Sunday night, and while there were no jockeys up for the main award, there was still some recognition for racing. AP McCoy, the first jockey to win the SPOTY main award, was given the lifetime achievement award after retiring from racing in April.

Former winners of the award include Pele and Seve Ballesteros, so McCoy is in good company. After an incredible career, the Northern Irishman was a deserved winner of the award, and on accepting it he said, “It’s a huge honour and I’m thrilled to be accepting it so close to home in Belfast.”

One bit of negative news last week was the injury suffered by Gold Cup winner Coneygree. Early reports suggested he could be out for the season, but it doesn’t appear to be that serious. He will be missing the King George on Boxing Day, which was shaping up to be a fantastic meeting. The eight-year-old should return in time to defend his title at Cheltenham in March.