Native River and Thistlecrack shape up for Betfair Chase with Exeter gallop

Two of jump racing’s biggest stars advertised their well being at Exeter on Wednesday when the Colin Tizzard-trained duo Native River and Thistlecrack enjoyed a racecourse gallop in preparation for their respective tilts at the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday week.

Last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River worked under champion jockey Richard Johnson, while Thistlecrack was reunited with his regular rider Tom Scudamore, as the pair matched strides after racing.   

"The workout was nothing more than a canter round and a nice day out for both horses, that is the first time they have been on grass as we have had such a dry autumn,” said Tizzard.

"We can get them fit at home but it would have done both horses the world of good and Richard Johnson and Tom Scudamore have come back with big smiles so they are pleased as well.

"The next stop is Haydock for the Betfair Chase in ten days time and it was great to see both horses enjoying themselves and the finishing upsides one another after a circuit of the track."

While Native River heads to Haydock following his dramatic Gold Cup win, Thistlecrack will be returning from injury having been sidelined since December’s King George at Kempton.