Thistlecrack has just won at Newbury in his third novice chase and opinions are as split as ever. Should a novice really be 7/2 favourite for the Gold Cup ?. Some think he is the new heir to the throne especially with so many doubts amongst main contenders whilst the doubters just feel that the price is plain daft.

I am tending towards the latter after today. An examination of his final sectional and comparing with O Maonlai, a handicap winner rated 133 later in the day, does not make for a 7/2 gold cup favourite. Given that O Maonlai ran just less than a furlong shorter, the two overall times work out to be pretty similar. The final sections however paint a different picture. I will admit that Thistle won pretty easily but his final section of 32.84 does not match the quicker O Maonlai at 32.2. I would content that the handicapper O Maonlai would have given him a fair race based on this data and given that Thistle will have to contend with far superior opposition at Cheltenham his price does look a tad crazy for March.

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