Colin Tizzard’s stable star Native River to miss Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National due to a tendon injury
- The winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2018 would be ridden by Richard Johnson
- Tizzard had high expectations of Native River after two wins in two runs this season
- But the horse is excluded for the season due to a tendon injury
- The trainer still has Betfair Chase winner Lost translation for the Gold Cup
British defense of next month’s Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup has been weakened after winner Native River 2018 was excluded from the race.
Trainer Colin Tizzard spoke positively about the odds of Native River after two wins in two runs this season, particularly in the Denman Chase this month in Newbury.
That had given rise to the hope that the horse, which was also entered in the Grand National and would be ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson, was at its best again and in shape to improve its fourth place in last season’s Gold Cup.
Native River misses the Gold Cup and the Grand National after a tendon injury
But the son and assistant Joe van Tizzard said: “He has sustained a tendon injury that has ended his season.”
Coral responded by trimming Nicky Henderson-trained Santini to 100-30 favorite for the Gold Cup.
The Tizzards still have Betfair Chase winner Lost translation (7-1) for the Gold Cup.
Meanwhile, trainer Willie Mullins expects stable jockey Paul Townend to stay with his 2019 Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo (7-2), rather than considering riding on stablemate and the recent Irish Gold Cup second Kemboy (7-1) .
Willie Mullins expects jockey Paul Townend to hold on to 2019 Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo
Mullins said: “I imagine he will ride on Al Boum Photo. He has won the job and won the race. If I were Paul, I would find it very difficult to get rid of him. “
Mullins revealed that veteran Un De Sceaux is ready to add more spice to the Queen Mother Champion Chase by competing against stablemate Chacun Pour Soi, Defi Du Seuil and double winner Altior.
Over the past three seasons, Un De Sceaux, ridden by Mullins’ amateur rider son Patrick, has competed in the longer Ryanair Chase and won the race in 2017.
Mullins said: ‘His connections really want the Champion Chase. We probably didn’t make the tactics last year with him and he still retains a huge amount of skills for his age. I would like to see a lot of rain for him. It will probably be his last hurray in Cheltenham. “
Mullins ‘Asterion Forlonge, impressive winner of the two-mile grade one starting hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, will run in the opening of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, although his owner Joe Donnelly will also have Nicky Henderson-trained favorite Shishkin in the race.
Benie Des Dieux has several options, but Mullins said his tendency would be to have another shot at the Mares’ Hurdle. She fell on the last hurdle in last year’s race with a victory that looked certain.
Mullins added: “She was an unfortunate loser last year. I’d like to go back and finish some unfinished business. “
Cilaos Emery, winner of the Red Mills Trial Hurdle in Gowran Park last weekend, is supplemented by the line-up for the Champion Hurdle.
Veteran Faugheen gave rise to emotional scenes when winning at the Dublin Festival, but Mullins said that no decision had yet been made as to whether he would go to the Festival.
Melon, second in two Champion Hurdle and a Supreme Novices ‘Hurdle, will go on a trip to record the Marsh Novices’ Chase.