Trainer Colin Tizzard has confirmed that with Richard Johnson out injured he will give young conditional jockey Jonjo O'Neill Jnr the chance to ride Native River in the Denman Chase at Newbury next month.
O'Neill, although not being around the racing scene that long has already made a big name for himself landing some superb races and now getting towards his target of riding out his claim.
Native River is a once in a lifetime horse landing big races consistently throughout his career like the Welsh Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup and last time out getting back to winning ways in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree.
The 10 year old has already previously landed the Denman Chase back in 2017 and 2018 and it acts as the perfect prep run before he heads to the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the fourth time.
Colin Tizzard told Sky Sports Racing: “Jonjo is going to ride him. He might be a conditional, but he’s a polished young man.
“We spoke about it with Garth and Ann (Broom, owners) yesterday. That’s what I wanted to do (book O’Neill) – I think he’ll suit Native River down to the ground.
“If Richard doesn’t come back by Cheltenham, we’ve got a ready-made jockey who has had a go on him.
“Jonjo rides for us and schools for us, and we want him on our side.”
Native will be looking to become part of a small group of horses to land the Cheltenham festival twice in his career and he is currently 16/1 with most betting firms to do so.