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Native River unlikely to be Grand National bound in April

Native River romped home to victory in the Denman Chase at Newbury last weekend and trainer Colin Tizzard admitted that he was tempted to aim him at the 2020 Randox Health Grand National on April 4th, however the horse’s owner hasn’t been convinced and Garth Broom has been urging punters to keep their pennies firmly in their pockets, for now.

Broom said: “It will be interesting to see what weight he gets, but his main aim this year is the Gold Cup.

“If he has a hard race it’s only three weeks to the National – so I wouldn’t advise anyone to put any money on him, because if he runs his race I don’t know if he’d have enough recovery time. He goes well fresh.

“Maybe next season it could be more of a target – when he’ll be 11 and the Gold Cup looks a little unrealistic – but if something happened and he couldn’t run in the Gold Cup then we’d still have another option.”

Broom stated that the prospect of Native River facing the Grand National fences is daunting for connections, however he envisages the runner being aimed at the famous steeplechase in 2021.

He continued: “The thing is I think the horse is brave enough for the National – but I don’t know if the owners are! We get so uptight, even on Saturday. We love him so much.

“With your head, he looks ideal for the National. But the problem is the owners, not the horse – we’ve got so attached to him. If anything happened we’d never forgive ourselves.

“If he’s fit and well next season it’s more likely. This season it’s more on stand-by. If he runs his race in the Gold Cup I couldn’t see him running, but we’re not ruling it completely out at this stage.

“He wins his races by making all – but can you make all over four and a quarter miles? That’s the million dollar question, I suppose.”

With regard to the weekend win at Newbury, he added: “It was the perfect result. He’s got a real following now – he’s spent time as a forgotten horse, but I think he’s been so consistent for so long he’s earned his place now.

“He’s still never been out of the first four over fences. Possibly winning the Gold Cup left its mark on him last season – (that race) seems to have done so to Might Bite, but Dicky (Johnson) said at Aintree he felt a different horse to at any stage last season.

“He’s the horse of a lifetime, we realise that. If he runs to the form he’s shown this season he should be bang there again in the Gold Cup. Obviously some younger ones are coming through – they always are – but he’ll make the others know they’ve had a race, that is almost certain.

“He doesn’t need it heavy in the Gold Cup. He actually handles good ground really well – it’s just the others don’t handle heavy as well as he did.

“He also had a new jockey on Saturday, and I thought young Jonjo (ONeill) did exceptionally well on him.”