Native River remains very much on course for a potential Gold Cup and Grand National double following his weekend win at Newbury. The 10-year-old triumphed in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup and secured a third win in the Denman Chase under Jonjo O’Neill junior on Saturday afternoon.
He has been entered into both the Gold Cup and the Grand National this season, however it is yet to be determined whether he will carry top weight in the showpiece Aintree Festival steeplechase on 4th April, the weights set to be announced at St George’s Hall, Liverpool on February 11th.
Following his convincing win at Newbury by two-and-three-quarter lengths, it appears as though he will have a fourth attempt at the Gold Cup before heading back to Merseyside.
Colin Tizzard was understandably delighted with the weekend win, the trainer saying: “They left him alone today and no one decided to come with us. It was a lovely prep race for the Gold Cup.
“Jonjo felt as if he hadn’t really got serious with him. He gave him a couple of little flicks and he was away and that is him all over. He is hardly blowing there.
“It is quite interesting, when they jumped the cross fence twice the young man thought they were going long and the old man said, ‘not yet’. That cross fence can undo a lot of horses, but he is neat and handy.
“When he came here two years ago it was his first run (of the season) and we wanted to replicate that a bit. You always wonder if you have done enough on the gallops and we haven’t taken him away at all. We just try and trust ourselves a bit.”
Native River, who also triumphed in the Welsh National and Hennessy Gold Cup in 2016, is an ante-post best price of 20/1 to win the 2020 Randox Health Grand National.