Cheltenham Betting Preview: Native River Defies Top Weight in Coral Welsh Grand National

William Hill

Following Boxing Day’s high quality horse racing action it was a case of more of the same on a bank holiday Tuesday which featured a plethora of Cheltenham Festival hopefuls, none more so than the Nicky Henderson-trained Altior who made it three from three over fences when coasting home from his three rivals in Kempton’s 32Red.com Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase since running out an impressive seven length winner of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle at this year’s festival.

The mount of Noel Fehily, an unbackable 1-9 favourite, hardly broke sweat in seeing off main market rival Maracudja but most bookmakers still felt justified in cutting the odds about the High Chaparral gelding for Cheltenham’s Racing Post Arkle Chase with the 7-4 on offer with both Ladbrokes and Bet Victor the best available.

The tremendous form of the Colin Tizzard stable, who were responsible for both Grade 1 contests at Kempton on Boxing Day, continued unabated courtesy of Hennessy gold Cup winner Native River who landed a second major handicap for the season when defying top weight in Chepstow’s Coral Welsh Grand National and in the process consolidating the trainer’s vice-like grip on next March’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.

With Thistlecrack as short as 4-5 for the championship contest Tizzard is now in the position of having a couple of worthy reserves should anything untoward befall the stable star over the next two and a half months. Along with Cue Card ( a general 10-1 chance but 12-1 with Paddy Power ) the 20-1 previously available about Native River for the Gold Cup has well and truly disappeared with the 12-1 on offer with Skybet, Ladbrokes and William Hill the best quoted about the six-year-old going one better at the festival than when runner up to Minella Rocco in this year’s National Hunt Chase.

On the Chepstow card Defi Du Seuil hardened as favourite for the Triumph Hurdle with an easy victory in the Grade 1 coral.co.uk Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle. As short as 3-1 with Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook for the race won by Ivanovich Gorbatov earlier this year the Philip Hobbs-trained gelding can still be backed at 8-1 with Ladbrokes, a price that is unlikely to last very long.

As expected, Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite Douvan proved far too good for his four rivals in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Cashcard Chase at Leopardstown with William Hills quote of 4-7 the best available about Willie Mullins’ exciting chaser for the two mile championship contest on Wednesday 15th March.

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