The Colin Tizzard trained Gold Cup winner Native River is one of four entries for the trainer in the Welsh Grand National and the veteran has been has a possible chance of landing the Chepstow feature for the second time in four years.
He started his season off at Aintree in the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase and went on to take the contest by over 50 lengths, with the field including Might Bite and Black Corton.
Now slightly older Tizzard had to be more patient with him and he was given some time after the race and reappeared at Newbury in the Denman Chase which he won by four lengths for the third time in his career.
That is a perfect prep run ahead of the festival with the ground being much quicker than he usually likes but he did what he always does best and stayed better than the rest of the field.
However, he did not end up running in the Gold Cup and has not been seen since February and now becoming a veteran in the sport this could be his last season at his best.
(Credit ATR) Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard said: “Native River is in beautiful form at home. We have the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree, the race he won last year, as the first target for him.
“He schooled on Wednesday morning and he will definitely be ready for that, and then it’s a case of what options we will look at for him.
“We spoke to Garth and Anne Broome (owners) and we agreed that we would give him an entry for the Welsh Grand National, as we want that option for him. He’s not getting any younger, and with the Gold Cup as competitive as it is, I’m not sure he’s going to win another one, so we wanted to give ourselves a Christmas big race option for him when there isn’t a lot else.
“He’s rated 168, which is obviously a lot of weight, but the conditions of the Welsh Grand National really play to Native River’s strengths – as we have seen before.
“We don’t have to decide now – we can take a look at the weights, and the ground and the opposition nearer the time and make a decision then.”