Native River appears increasingly likely to bid for a second victory in next month’s Coral Welsh Grand National.
It is three years since Colin Tizzard’s charge carried top-weight to victory in the Chepstow marathon, since when he has claimed Cheltenham Gold Cup glory in 2018.
The nine-year-old also finished third in the blue riband in 2017 and fourth last season – and a return to Prestbury Park in March for a fourth Gold Cup tilt remains a key target.
However, Chepstow’s festive feature on December 27 is on Native River’s more immediate agenda.
His part-owner Garth Broom said: “Plan A is now looking like the Welsh National for Native River. We would like to give him a run over hurdles before, if one comes up suitable for him.
“I think the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree might come a bit too quick for him, and it is unlikely to be an option, but it hasn’t been totally ruled out.
“We know he likes the track at Chepstow and can carry a big weight in the soft ground they usually get there – and it fits in nicely timing-wise if we go to the Denman Chase at Newbury afterwards.”