Native River faces 15 rivals in Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup

Native River gets the better of Might Bite in an enthralling Gold Cup
Native River gets the better of Might Bite in an enthralling Gold Cup

Native River will face 15 rivals when he bids for back-to-back victories in Friday's Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Colin Tizzard's bold-jumping chestnut saw off Might Bite in an epic renewal of the blue riband 12 months ago and with conditions having turned in his favour, he is well fancied to become the first horse to win successive renewals since the legendary three-times winner Best Mate (2002-2004).

Tizzard also sends Welsh Grand National hero Elegant Escape and Thistlecrack into battle. Paul Nicholls relies on Clan Des Obeaux as he bids to claim a joint-record fifth Gold Cup success.

It is 10 years since the Ditcheat maestro last claimed the most prestigious prize in National Hunt racing with Kauto Star, but he has strong claims of adding to his tally with this season's King George and Ascot Chase hero.

The Irish challenge is headed by Pat Kelly's dual Festival winner Presenting Percy - who will be making his first competitive appearance over fences since winning the RSA Chase last season.

Having saddled the runner-up on six occasions, Willie Mullins has a strong hand of four runners as he bids to finally break his Gold Cup hoodoo. Irish Gold Cup winner Bellshill and Savills Chase victor Kemboy are joined by stablemates Al Boum Photo and Invitation Only.

Double Shuffle will be a big outsider for Tom George, but the Slad-based trainer reports his charge to be in rude health.

He said: "He's in unbelievably good form. He's in as good a form as we've had him. As long as it doesn't get very soft his owners are keen to let him take his chance and I can understand why. We'll let him take his chance and just see what happens, you never know. He's been second in a King George. He loved Cheltenham as a young horse so we thought we've nothing to lose. Johnny Burke rides him."

Nigel Twiston-Davies will be hoping his dual Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai can reproduce his Haydock form, while Gordon Elliott will be keeping his fingers crossed last year's JLT Novices' Chase heroine Shattered Love can bounce back to her best.

The field is completed by last year's runner-up Might Bite (Nicky Henderson), last year's third Anibale Fly (Tony Martin), Definitly Red (Brian Ellison) and Yala Enki (Venetia Williams).


GET THE FULL PICTURE: Don't miss out on FREE video replays and our fantastic My Stable tracker. Log in now and become a Sporting Life Insider.

Related horse racing links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read Racing

Check out our latest daily tipping preview1

Friday's racing preview

Ashley Iveson makes Exceeding Power his best bet of the day at Lingfield on Friday and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Nap Of The Day2

Daily Nap: Wade in with Watson

Ben Linfoot heads to the all-weather at Lingfield for Friday's Sporting Life Daily Nap with a handicap debutant fancied.

Too Darn Hot... has the potential to be a big star on the Flat3

Things to look forward to….

Cheltenham may be over, but spring is in the air, BST is around the corner and the Flat turf season is imminent. Ben Linfoot looks ahead to what’s in store.

Declan Lavery4

Lavery has 10-day ban quashed

Declan Lavery has had his 10-day riding ban quashed following an appeal heard by an independent disciplinary panel at the headquarters of the BHA on Thursday.

The Young Master storms home at Cheltenham5

Anxious National wait for Master

Neil Mulholland has his fingers crossed The Young Master will make the cut for the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on April 6.

Most Read Racing

Check out our latest daily tipping preview1

Friday's racing preview

Ashley Iveson makes Exceeding Power his best bet of the day at Lingfield on Friday and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Nap Of The Day2

Daily Nap: Wade in with Watson

Ben Linfoot heads to the all-weather at Lingfield for Friday's Sporting Life Daily Nap with a handicap debutant fancied.

Too Darn Hot... has the potential to be a big star on the Flat3

Things to look forward to….

Cheltenham may be over, but spring is in the air, BST is around the corner and the Flat turf season is imminent. Ben Linfoot looks ahead to what’s in store.

Declan Lavery4

Lavery has 10-day ban quashed

Declan Lavery has had his 10-day riding ban quashed following an appeal heard by an independent disciplinary panel at the headquarters of the BHA on Thursday.

The Young Master storms home at Cheltenham5

Anxious National wait for Master

Neil Mulholland has his fingers crossed The Young Master will make the cut for the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on April 6.

Next Race Off

09:00 Bangalore
3
(10)
Kimera
J: P S Chouhan
5
(11)
Ido What I Do
J: Antony Raj S
4
(7)
Another Rainbow
J: R Manish
9
(4)
Bazinga
J: M Rajesh Kumar
2
(9)
Summer Dawn
J: A Ramu
6
(2)
Indian Brahmos
J: T S Jodha
8
(5)
Zala Princess
J: R Rayan Ahmed
7
(8)
Lovely Sierra
J: Md Akram
10
(12)
Firestone
J: P P Dhebe
12
(3)
Singhsaab
J: B Nayak
11
(1)
Game Of Thrones
J: Vinod Shinde
1
(6)
Turf Jaguar
J: K Nazil

Racing Tips

Check out our latest daily tipping preview

Friday's racing preview

Ashley Iveson makes Exceeding Power his best bet of the day at Lingfield on Friday and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Nap Of The Day

Daily Nap: Wade in with Watson

Ben Linfoot heads to the all-weather at Lingfield for Friday's Sporting Life Daily Nap with a handicap debutant fancied.

Rathvinden is fancied for Grand National glory

Antepost Angle: Spring Double

After 20/1 and 11/1 winners at Cheltenham last week, our long-range racing expert Matt Brocklebank turns his hand to the two major spring handicaps.