Reigning Gold Cup Champions Native River to Skip Prep Run

The 2018 Gold Cup winner Native River will look to defend his crown against in March. However, he will head to the race a fresh horse after Colin Tizzard has decided to skip his prep run. He was due to run in the Denman Chase before the equine flu shutdown caused that race to be abandoned. The new race will take place this weekend, but Native River will not run in it, instead he will remain at home and stay fresh.

When he won the Gold Cup last season, Native River only had one run before, which came in the Denman Chase. However, this season the yard have taken things differently and they have ran him twice already, firstly in the Betfair Chase at Haydock and more recently in the King George at Kempton. On both occasions he was beaten, but the slightly tougher test of the Cheltenham Gold Cup is something he will prefer as we saw last season.

It is no surprise to see him hovering around favouritism alongside the Irish trained Presenting Percy, despite losing twice already this season. The test on offer so far has not been strong enough, but despite that he has managed to run well twice. He will no doubt be spot on for the Festival as he looks to retain his crown, and the Cheltenham hill alongside the additional distance will all go in his favour.

He ground it out last year, and you certainly wouldn’t back against him to do it again this season, even without his final prep run.