Welsh Grand National: Native River claims victory at Chepstow

Native River
Native River, ridden by Richard Johnson, won the Hennessy Gold Cup in November

The Colin Tizzard-trained Native River secured victory in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.

The 11-4 favourite, ridden by Richard Johnson, began positively and took the lead with a full circuit remaining.

He held off a late surge to hand Tizzard's team their second victory in 24 hours after Thistlecrack won the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.

"Any other season, without the likes of Thistlecrack and Cue Card, he'd be anyone's champion," Tizzard said.

Raz De Maree finished second, while Houblon Des Obeaux took third place.

Tizzard added on BBC Radio 5 live: "It's a fantastic time for us and luckily all the horses than ran yesterday came back and sound and well; things couldn't get any better.

"It's a very, very lovely time in my life. Everyone's doing their bit.

"And these horses, you can't find them, they find you half the time. We've just got to enjoy this moment when we're having these beautiful horses."

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

They said beforehand this wasn't a 'normal' Welsh Grand National. Not only were ground conditions considerably drier than the usual bog, but the handicap range, from Native River's 11 stone 12 pounds down to 10-10, wasn't what it can be.

Different maybe, but not easier and to carry most weight over this always examining course, aged only 6, and to dispose of his rivals in great style was terrific. Little wonder a crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup - against stablemate Thistlecrack - is now on the cards.

As for the Tizzards, well, they have the horses, but often something goes wrong to spoil the party: not this Christmas.

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