Emerging steeplechase star Thistlecrack has been given the go-ahead to tackle stablemate Cue Card in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
The Boxing Day feature is the highlight of winter and second only to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in prestige in National Hunt racing.
Trainer Colin Tizzard left the decision up to owners John and Heather Snook, who confirmed they have always had the Christmas showpiece in their minds.
“It’s definitely the King George for Thistlecrack. It’s always been my intention to go that way provided the horse has been coping with jumping fences and we think he has,” John Snook told www.somersetlive.co.uk: .
“…provided he’s 110 per cent on the day, we’ll be in the King George.”
Tizzard, who has had a tremendous first half of the season, will be bidding for back-to-back wins after Cue Card’s last-gasp success 12 months ago.
“We’d been saying for the last three weeks that we were going to leave the decision as long as we could, but we thought it was only fair that we told people what we intended to do,” Tizzard told At The Races.
“Cue Card’s owners have sat down with Thistlecrack’s owners and they are both in agreement the King George is a once-in-a-lifetime race and both horses are in cracking form, so they should take their chance.
“Do we need to wait another year before we try to win a King George with him? The owners had the final say and they wanted to go, I fully support it.
“It would have been easier if Cue Card wasn’t in it, but he is and he’s in very good form so they can both go.”
Race sponsor 32Red have made Cue Card the even money favourite with Thistlecrack next best at 6-4.