Native River to begin season in Betfair Chase

Native River beats Might Bite after an epic Gold Cup duel
Native River beats Might Bite after an epic Gold Cup duel

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River will be chasing the Jockey Club's £1million Triple Crown bonus this season.

His campaign is set to start with the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 24 with the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton and Magners Gold Cup at Cheltenham the other two legs of the treble.

"Native River will go straight to Haydock. He's galloping away and looks an absolute picture," Joe Tizzard, assistant trainer to his father Colin, told At The Races.

"The Million is the sort of plan. Those horses, the routes get mapped out for them - Haydock, then the King George and the Gold Cup. That's three obvious targets, and they're spaced out lovely."

Thistlecrack, winner of the King George as a novice in 2016, is set to make his seasonal reappearance in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 3.

Thistlecrack during his return to action at Newbury
Thistlecrack - season set to start at Wetherby

"Thistlecrack had a school this morning. Tom Scu [Scudamore] schooled him. He's been back in quite a while, and the plan is to to take him to the Charlie Hall," said Tizzard. He's in lovely form, probably the best form he's been in for six months."

Tizzard revealed the yard is sorely tempted to send last season's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle winner, Kilbricken Storm, novice chasing this term rather than target the Stayers' Hurdle.

"Harry Cobden schooled him first time over fences for us this morning. He jumped super," he said. "He's actually filled out a lot over the summer and he looks magnificent. I'm really excited about him. We haven't really pencilled in where we are going to start with him. It will probably be the end of this month or beginning of November we'll start with him.

"We've had a few debates about whether we're going to leave him for a Stayers' Hurdle or go novice chasing, but he jumped a fence super this morning. I'm imagine that's where we'll go. Dad and I couldn't contain ourselves. You never know - he could be even better over a fence. He did jump lovely for the first time this morning."

Kilbricken Storm on his way to Albert Bartlett glory
Kilbricken Storm - could go novice chasing


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