- Thistlecrack is third favourite behind Might Bite and Bristol De Mai at Kempton
- Thistlecrack eased to a three and quarter length victory in King George last year
- The nine-year-old has only raced twice since his victory 12 months ago
Jockey Tom Scudamore retains faith in 2016 King George VI Chase winner Thistlecrack despite a question marks hanging over the Colin Tizzard-trained nine-year-old.
When Thistlecrack was sent off 11-10 favourite before easing to a three and quarter length win from stablemate Cue Card last year, the steeplechasing world looked his to dominate.
But since then he has been beaten on heavy ground at Cheltenham, suffered a tendon injury and been comprehensively beaten on his comeback at Newbury last month.
Jockey Tom Scudamore retains faith in 2016 King George VI Chase winner Thistlecrack
But Scudamore said: ‘We felt he blew up jumping the second last at Newbury which is understandable given the amount of time he had had off and everything he has been through.
‘I sat on him the other day and did a bit of schooling. Colin and his son Joe see him every day and are very happy with him.
‘They know him far better than me but looking at him he looked like he had tightened up. All the signs and vibes he gave me were very good.’
Going into the race Thistlecrack is 6-1 third favourite behind Might Bite and Bristol De Mai.
Scudamore added: ‘Every single King George is tough. I would not say this year’ s race is any stronger than last year’s.
‘Twelve months ago Cue Card was carrying all before him. He had won the Betfair Chase at Haydock easily in a similar way to Bristol De Mai this season.’
Analysing his biggest dangers, Scudamore said: ‘I think there are three. Bristol De Mai has to back up what he did at Haydock on quicker ground but he is a young horse who is improving beyond all recognition.
‘Might Bite would have been a highly impressive winner of the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase last year and all his form last has worked out well via stablemate Whisper. He is a worthy favourite.
‘I also give a lot of respect to Fox Norton. There is a question whether he will stay and be as good over three miles as he is over two but he could be the fly in the ointment.’