Hopes for a second Cheltenham Gold Cup win and a stab at the Grand National for Native River have been dashed after it was announced this morning (19 February) that the popular Colin Tizzard-trained gelding has picked up an injury.
The 2018 Gold Cup hero was a 10/1 chance in this year’s Festival renewal, which takes place on Friday, 13 March, but the 10-year-old will now be out for the rest of the 2019/20 season after he sustained “a little tear” in at the back of his knee.
Colin’s son and assistant trainer Joe Tizzard described it as “really disappointing” but “not a major injury” and said the team is hopeful the horse will be back in action next season.
The extent of Native River’s injury was revealed in a scan by vets after he showed some soreness during his work yesterday.
His regular jockey Richard Johnson, who has been on the sidelines while nursing a broken arm, said on social media: “Gutted to hear that Native River is out for the rest of the season. But he’s in good hands and hopefully back for more again next season.”
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Up-and-coming rider Jonjo O’Neill Jnr deputised for the champion jockey aboard Native River on his last run, in the Grade Two Denman Chase at Newbury on 8 February. The pair went off as favourite and were victorious by 2 3/4 lengths, beating the Paul Nicholls-trained Secret Investor.
The chestnut son of Indian River has won 13 races from 26 runs under Rules, which included triumphs in the 2016 Hennessy Gold Cup and the Welsh National in the same year.
Don’t miss our Cheltenham Festival preview (5 March issue) and report (19 March issue) in Horse & Hound magazine.
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