Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Bank on River for Gold Glory

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Bank on River for Gold Glory

Article excerpt

While the heart may want Cue Card to win the Timico Gold Cup, the head says his stablemate Native River could be the one to lift the showpiece event on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.

The seven-year-old contested the four-mile National Hunt Chase at this meeting last season and while his second was more than respectable, his subsequent Grade One victory over three miles and a furlong in the Mildmay at Aintree showed his sights should be set a little higher this term.

Colin Tizzard's decision to give him a warm-up over hurdles at Wetherby in October proved most shrewd as Native River was primed to the moment for the Hennessy, in which he posted an excellent performance to see off Carole's Destrier by half a length after making his move two fences from home.

The penalty he picked up for that success saw him saddled with 11st 12lb in the Welsh National, but that proved no bar to success as he made a mockery of that welter weight as he easily held Raz De Maree to put himself in the Cheltenham frame.

He proved very little in winning the Denman Chase other than his well-being, but he is a horse that is clearly adaptable in terms of trip and has proved he can handle both testing ground as well as quicker conditions. His jumping - and stamina - is beyond reproach and he should have too many guns for his popular stablemate.

Djakadam has hit the frame for the last couple of years and he will surely be in the mix again.

Charli Parcs let down his supporters when crashing out at Kempton last time, but he can make amends for those that keep the faith in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson's charge was odds on to supplement a previous win at the Sunbury venue but he was struggling a fair way out that day, before starting to come back on the bridle approaching the penultimate flight. Unfortunately he got that obstacle all wrong and his race was over, but he looked likely to put up a good challenge to the reopposing winner Master Blueyes before his mishap. …

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