The Colin Tizzard trained Native River has been ruled out of running in the 2020 Grand National due to injury. The news was revealed by the yard, saying the horse had a tendon injury and would miss the remainder of the season.
The Denman Chase winner was by no means a definite runner in the Grand National. His owners were still to decide whether he would try his luck in the Gold Cup once again, or whether he would swerve that and go to Aintree for the National.
That decision has now been taken out of their hands unfortunately due to injury. Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard said: “Unfortunately we have had to scratch Native River from the Gold Cup this morning.
“It’s really disappointing but he’s just had a little tear in the suspensory tendon at the back of his knee which is going to put him out for the rest of the season.”
Fiddlerontheroof & Native River this morning both bright eyed and happy after their impressive wins yesterday. pic.twitter.com/o106IVCmba
— Colin Tizzard (@colintizzard) December 8, 2019
What happens with this horse next season remains to be seen. He is a 10-year-old now, so any tilt at the Grand National or the Gold Cup in 2021 would be as an 11-year-old, and makes things a little more difficult for him.
When the news broke, the Tizzard team said that they looked forward to getting the horse back next season and that it would be around Christmas time when he was ready to run again.
The horse won a Gold Cup in 2018, so that is ticked off the list so to speak. The only race worthy of him coming back for would be the Grand National, as he would likely have little chance of winning a Gold Cup, given the competition he would be up against.
Grand National 2021 Chance
He appeared very nicely weighted this season for the Grand National, something that made the decision of where to run him even tougher to work out. Next year, a year older, he is likely to be weighted even better and for that reason, the Tizzard’s and the owners could be swayed into a campaign solely based around the National.
That would likely mean a run back to get his season underway at Christmas, without ruining his handicap mark too much. Then a run after the 2021 weights have been revealed to put him spot on and see if he still holds the same kind of ability that he has at the moment, before a trip to Aintree for one last big day with him.
What an epic duel this was – Native River showed a tremendous attitude to defeat Might Bite in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup! 💪
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 29, 2020
Should this happen then unless age catches up with him, Native River would certainly have a chance. He gallops and jumps brilliantly, staying all day so the trip and test of the Aintree fences would prove to be no trouble at all.
The gut feeling is that it would come a year too late, but he couldn’t be ruled out with ease as some horses can. As far as profiles go, he certainly has the perfect one for the Grand National, but age may just catch him out.
It is disappointing to see him ruled out for this season, I think the connections would have eventually decided that it was the best race for him with how good the Gold Cup looks. However, he may be back next season for the race if this summer goes to plan.