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Haydock target for Native River and Thistlecrack as Tizzards eye Triple Crown

Jonathan Vine 29 Aug 2018
Joe Tizzard poses alongside Native River in February 2018.

Colin and Joe Tizzard provided fans with a positive update on Native River and Thistlecrack, while revealing both will begin their bids to win the Triple Crown in Haydock’s Betfair Chase.

Colin Tizzard stood atop the National Hunt racing world at the end of last season’s Cheltenham Festival. Native River outstayed hot-favourite Might Bite in the Gold Cup and the 62-year-old dairy farmer from Dorset lifted the famous trophy aloft for the first time, with son and assistant trainer, Joe standing proudly in the background.

It was a fantastic training achievement from the Tizzards, considering Native River was only fit enough for one prep-run before grasping Gold Cup glory. After a season which saw the seven-year-old score in the Ladbrokes Trophy and the Welsh Grand National, Native River could only finish third in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, so you could forgive Tizzard for scheduling a similarly sparse schedule as he tries to help his charge retain his Cheltenham crown.

However, there were no such thoughts in Tizzard’s head when he opened the gates of his Dorset operation to the media on Tuesday. While parading Native River in front of a baying crowd, Joe Tizzard revealed their stable star would start off in the Betfair Chase before, if successful at Haydock, targeting the final two legs of the Triple Crown.

"Last year we couldn't really run him much as he had an injury at the end of the season before." Joe Tizzard told the Racing Post.

"The main aim is to get him to the Gold Cup. We will likely start him at Haydock for the Betfair Chase, and if he won that then we would be tempted to go for the million-pound bonus. We'd then have to think about going to Aintree or Punchestown.

"If you win at Haydock then it certainly has to come into the equation, there's a lot of time between the races so it is very doable – it's not easy though. We'll have to play it by ear but I would imagine he'll start back in the Betfair Chase."

Native River wasn’t the only star on show during Tuesday stable tour. Thistlecrack was also given a rapturous round of applause when he took his turn on the catwalk and the ten-year-old bounced out of the stables in his characteristically exuberant fashion.

It has been quite a while since we have seen that Thistlecrack in the flesh. Weeks after losing out in that famous battle with the late, great Many Clouds in the 2017 Cotswold Chase, the then Gold Cup favourite was resigned to the treatment table with a tendon injury and Tizzard was only able to get two starts into his charge last term, with Thistlecrack looking well below his best.

Jockey Richard Johnson (left) and Colin Tizzard lift the famous Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Following a fourth-place finish in last year’s King George, Tizzard decided to pull Thistlecrack out of the spotlight. Thankfully, to the delight of everyone in attendance, Joe Tizzard revealed the old Thistlecrack was back and he too would be targeting the Triple Crown.

“Thistlecrack is a little bit older now so things have got to start to happen for him." Tizzard continued. "We'll get him out early and get some runs into him, he'll start in the Charlie Hall first and then we'd have a look at the million-pound bonus."

Some trainers try their best to avoid pitting stablemates against one another. However, with the Triple Crown bonus at the forefront of their minds, the Tizzards don’t seem put off by the prospect of Native River and Thistlecrack locking horns this season.

“Although we don't like them to clash, there are only so many races to run them in and they are both rated highly enough to deserve to run in those races."

“They have both been in lovely form since we've had them back. They had their summer breaks and both came in around the middle of June. They're going through the motions well.

“We couldn't be happier with them, especially Thistlecrack, he is fully over his little problems last season and we're now hoping to have a full and successful campaign with him.”

Now that autumn is almost upon us, racing fans have already started looking towards the new National Hunt season and the Triple Crown market with Ladbrokes has seen plenty of attention in recent weeks.

Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “With the weather getting colder, punters are starting to think more about the National Hunt season and interest in jump racing’s Triple Crown has already begun."

"Although the Tizzards are going for it with Native River and Thistlecrack, we think the young, progressive Presenting Percy deserves to be favourite.”

Ladbrokes are offering odds of 10/1 on any horse winning the Betfair Chase, the King George at Kempton and the Cheltenham Gold Cup during 2018/19. Presenting Percy sits ahead of Might Bite and Native River in the race to land the Triple Crown, but it’s Might Bite who heads the Gold Cup betting with Ladbrokes, with last year’s runner-up the 5/1 favourite, ahead of Presenting Percy and Native River, who sit on odds of 6/1 and 7/1 respectively.

*Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown betting odds with Ladbrokes*
10/1 Any Horse, 20/1 Presenting Percy, 25/1 Might Bite, 50/1 Native River, 50/1 Sizing John, 66/1 Thistlecrack, 80/1 Balko Des Flos, 100/1 Bristol De Mai

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Haydock target for Native River and Thistlecrack as Tizzards eye Triple Crown

Colin and Joe Tizzard provided fans with a positive update on Native River and Thistlecrack on Tuesday 28th August, while revealing both will begin their bids to land the Triple Crown in Haydock’s Betfair Chase.

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