Big names have Aintree in their sights

Native River ridden by Richard Johnson - RealTime Images

The likes of Cue Card, Native River and Yanworth – all huge fancies at Cheltenham who failed to win – have their sights set on the Grand National festival at Aintree next month.

Colin Tizzard trained duo Cue Card and Native River both took their places in the Gold Cup with differing results.

Cue Card fell for the second successive season season, whilst Native River made some good running before come in third.

Both horses are now looking towards Aintree and the Betway Bowl could be a likely landing place for both.

“Cue Card didn’t look like he was going to win when he came down, but if you watch the replay of last year’s race he didn’t look to be going anywhere at the fourth-last and then at the third-last it looked like he’d just jumped in.

“He wasn’t going as well as last year, but he’s come back fine and that’s the main thing.

“The other horse (Native River) ran his race, I think. We’ll see how they are nearer the time, but they could both go to Aintree, or one might wait for Punchestown.

“There’s a lot of prize-money on offer, so I wouldn’t be against running the two against each other again.

“Having said that, we know Cue Card is effective over two and a half miles as well, so he has that option (Melling Chase) at Aintree, too.”

Like Cue Card, Tizzard could also send Fox Norton – who came close to wining the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham – to the Melling Chase.

“Fox Norton is fine. We did have him entered in the Ryanair as well as the Champion Chase and the way he stayed on so well, you wouldn’t be worried about stepping up in distance.

“But all we’re concentrating on at the moment is keeping the horses fit and well. Unless they’re 100 per cent, they won’t go anywhere.”


Yanworth is also likely to be seen at Aintree next month after he came up short in the Champion Hurdle, after being sent-off 2/1 favourite.

“If we run him again, I would imagine we go two and a half at Aintree. If not, that would be him and he will go chasing next season,” said trainer Alan King.

“He was jumping big, but that is why we put the cheekpieces on. He looked like he had run an awful race, but he stayed on up the hill and with another few strides would have been sixth.

“I am pleased with the way he finished the race off.”


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