Colin Tizzard and his team are priming their big guns for a return to action at the start of what could be another big season for the Dorset stable.
Tizzard and son Joe had a highly-successful last campaign, highlighted by Native River’s victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Chasing’s triple crown will be on his agenda, starting with the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 24. The 32Red King George VI and Magners Gold Cup are the other two legs of the treble that carries a £1million bonus should any horse bag all three prestigious prizes.
“Native River will go straight to Haydock. He’s galloping away and looks an absolute picture,” assistant trainer Joe told At The Races.
“The Million is the sort of plan. Those horses, the routes get mapped out for them – Haydock, then the King George and the Gold Cup. That’s three obvious targets, and they’re spaced out lovely.”
Thistlecrack, winner of the King George as a novice in 2016, is set to make his seasonal reappearance in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 3.
“Thistlecrack had a school this morning. Tom Scu [Scudamore] schooled him. He’s been back in quite a while, and the plan is to to take him to the Charlie Hall,” said Tizzard.
“He’s in lovely form, probably the best form he’s been in for six months.”
Tizzard revealed the yard is sorely tempted to send last season’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner, Kilbricken Storm, novice chasing this term rather than target the Stayers’ Hurdle.
“Harry Cobden schooled him first time over fences for us this morning. He jumped super,” he said.
“He’s actually filled out a lot over the summer and he looks magnificent. I’m really excited about him.
“We haven’t really pencilled in where we are going to start with him. It will probably be the end of this month or beginning of November we’ll start with him.
“We’ve had a few debates about whether we’re going to leave him for a Stayers’ Hurdle or go novice chasing, but he jumped a fence super this morning. I’m imagine that’s where we’ll go.
“Dad and I couldn’t contain ourselves. You never know – he could be even better over a fence. He did jump lovely for the first time this morning.”