Connections of Ar Mad have resisted the urge to supplement him for the 32Red King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
Having initially decided against the Kempton race as they did not want him to become embroiled in a speed duel with Coneygree, there could have been a temptation to revise plans after the 2015 Gold Cup winner was ruled out of the Christmas highlight on Sunday.
However, following Thistlecrack’s confirmation on Monday morning, trainer Gary Moore said Ar Mad, who made such an encouraging return from injury in the Tingle Creek at Sandown, would be having his next race in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on January 21.
“We’ve decided he won’t go to Kempton,” said Moore.
“Thistlecrack definitely runs so we’ll give it a miss.
“He’ll probably go straight to the Clarence House now.”
The King George sponsors likened Boxing Day’s mouthwatering clash between Cue Card and Thistlecrack to the days when Kauto Star went toe to toe with fellow Paul Nicholls-trained runner Denman.
32Red representative Tony Calvin said: “These two horses don’t even work together at home, so we are stepping into the unknown.
“This incredibly bold and sporting decision by Thistlecrack’s connections is a throwback to the days of Kauto Star taking on his next-door neighbour Denman in Gold Cups, and elevates the race immeasurably as a result.”