Native River records wide-margin Many Clouds victory as old foe Might Bite exits

The first big sporting rematch of the day was over before it started at Aintree on Saturday In scenes millions worldwide hoped would not be repeated hours later in Joshua v Ruiz part two, Might Bite was on the canvas early to leave Native River to claim his first winner's belt since the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

It was in that race the pair were embroiled in a titanic tussle but this turned out to be a totally one-sided affair.

Native River came home in his own time under Richard Johnson from as early as the fourth fence, where Might Bite unseated Nico de Boinville following an awkward jump.

Bigger bouts lie ahead for Native River with the Coral Welsh Grand National, Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and Randox Health Grand National all under consideration.    

"It was a lovely performance," said Joe Tizzard, assistant trainer to his father Colin. "Every race he runs in is top-notch and he deserved to go and do that. It was disappointing what happened to Might Bite, but our horse got into a good rhythm and had them at it from a long way out. The first-time blinkers have made that bit of difference too."

Native River was left unchanged at 12-1 by Betfair Sportsbook for the Welsh National, which he won in 2016, and Tizzard believes he should not be underestimated wherever he goes. 

"He'll come on for the run and he shouldn't be a forgotten horse," he added. "Richard said he felt a bit sharper than he ever was last season and perhaps he's taken a season to get over a Gold Cup. 

"We'll be making a plan to get back for the Gold Cup. If he comes out of the race fine he could possibly go to the Welsh National. If he's had a harder race today than it looked, we could skip Christmas and head for the Cotswold Chase."

Owner Garth Broom left the door open for a possible return to Aintree in the Grand National in April for a horse closing in on a notable landmark. 

"We may look to come back here in April," he said. "We've been saying 'no, no, no!' but everyone keeps saying he's made for the National so we haven't ruled it out.

"He's close to reaching a million pounds in career earnings and horses like him don't come around that often."

Might Bite jumped around loose alongside Native River with the pair having a coming together at the second-last.

"The horse is fine and I don't know what the plan will be," said De Boinville.

While the Native River team plot a route back from the Gold Cup, connections of Might Bite were left with more questions than answers after another disappointment.