Newbury’s Grade 2 has a long history of producing Gold Cup winners with National Hunt legends Kauto Star and Denman both winning the 3 mile contest before going on to taste Gold Cup glory at Cheltenham. More recently, Coneygree was victorious in 2015 before becoming the first novice in over 40 years to land the big prize just a month later. This year, two horses near the top of the Gold Cup betting go head-to-head at the Berkshire course with the outcome set to reveal plenty of clues as to where to invest your money for the big one in March.
Saturday’s favourite Native River has already enjoyed an excellent season to date. His victories in the Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh Grand National were both fine efforts and he’s likely to put in a bold bid to round off a remarkable year with victory in the Gold Cup, with Oddschecker saying:
“The meteoric rise of Native River shows no sign of stopping and his two big-race wins already this season have catapulted the Colin Tizzard-trained seven-year-old into a genuine Gold Cup contender and he’s now clear second favourite (best odds 9/2) for the Blue Riband event, behind stablemate Thistlecrack.”
Native River’s main rival on Saturday will be Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Bristol De Mai who has Gold Cup ambitions of his own and is available at 14/1 for the main event in March. Last seen routed his rivals in last month’s Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock, the 6yo was a close second in last year’s JLT at the Festival. And Saturday’s dual with Native River should be a true test of his Gold Cup credentials.
If you’re hoping to get on either contender in the ante-post market, be sure to use a bookmaker offering Non Runner No Bet as a poor performance from either horse this weekend could see their Cheltenham dreams dashed and your bet go up in flames.