Native River Strengthens Cheltenham Gold Cup Claims

Native River Strengthens Cheltenham Gold Cup Claims

Native River was the winner of the Grade Two Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday where he enhanced his claims for the Cheltenham Gold Cup ahead of the

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Native River was the winner of the Grade Two Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday where he enhanced his claims for the Cheltenham Gold Cup ahead of the Festival next month.

The seven-year-old had just the two rivals to beat at Newbury. He finished just over three lengths ahead of Le Mercurey, while the odds-on favourite and recent Haydock winner Bristol De Mai came home a further six lengths back. Jockey Aidan Coleman chose to make the running on board Native River and he made all in a sound round of jumping.

The seven-year-old won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury back in November where he justified strong market support behind him to prevail in the race by just under a length. A month later he carried top weight in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. That prompted talk about the horse being a Grand National contender at Aintree, however, connections recently ruled that out when he was not one of the latest 100 entries for the world famous steeplechase.

Colin Tizzard’s chaser has been cut into 7/2 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the back of his third consecutive impressive performance. If you are looking to back the Denman Chase winner next month, betting online on the Cheltenham Festival was never easier. The whole field for the Blue Riband event have been priced up already and you can place a bet on your smartphone while you are on the move.

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The Somerset-based trained now has the top three horses in the betting for the Gold Cup as Thistlecrack remains the market leader despite his defeat in the Cotswold Chase and the owners of Cue Card have confirmed the 3m2f contest is the target for their horse this year. As you can see from the infographic below, Thistlecrack is inside the top five when it comes to the favourite horses that punters have been backed ahead of the meeting. He’ll be looking to join the likes of Golden Miller, Arkle and Best Mate who feature on the graph as some of the greatest winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Altior continued his unbeaten run over fences to score in the Game Spirit Chase. Nicky Henderson’s runner drew clear from the field approaching the fourth last fence. He finished 13 lengths ahead of Fox Norton who was his nearest market rival before the 2m contest.

Altior is bidding to win back-to-back races at the Festival in the Arkle Trophy where he is the odds-on favourite at 1/3. He landed the opening race of the 2016 meeting when he was the impressive winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The seven-year old was expected to meet Willie Mullins’ Min once again at Cheltenham, however, the Irish horse has been ruled out of the 2m novice chase due to an injury.

Finally, Mullins has eased out to 4/9 with the bookmakers to be the Leading Trainer at the Festival this year following the news of Min and Faugheen’s absence this year.