Former Gold Cup hero Native River is full of enthusiasm and tempting Colin Tizzard’s team to take a shot at the Welsh National at Chepstow.
The 11-year-old, who took the prize five years ago, would once again have to carry top weight as the 2018 Cheltenham Festival winner heads a field of 30 entrants for three-mile-and-six-furlong contest on December 27, live on Sky Sports Racing.
Joe Tizzard, who is set to take over his father’s trainer licence, is hoping conditions in Wales will be soft enough for their old star, having returned to action at Aintree earlier this month in the Many Clouds Chase when finishing second.
“Every day he is still enthusiastic and still competitive,” Tizzard told Sky Sports Racing. “He’s still doing it on the track.
“We’d love to run him in his conditions every month and then once it dries out, that’s it. This is pretty much his last season.
“Every time he runs in a conditions race he carries 11st 10lbs so he’s going to have the same weight in a Welsh National. It’s very tempting and a big possibility.”
Former Gold Cup third Lostintranslation bounced back to form with victory in the 1965 Chase at Ascot last month and is all set to feature in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Tizzard’s nine-year-old has failed to finish in the last two editions of the race, but Tizzard is not concerned that the London track is the issue.
“He was a lovely one to get back because he was a real headscratcher last year,” Tizzard said.
“When they’re having a job to get round you question yourself for even running the horse but what we were seeing at home was good enough to be running.
“He was fit for Ascot but I’m sure he’s improved mentally because he went through that pain barrier to finish his race really strongly. He just looks a happy horse this year.
“After he won the Betfair Chase  we really fancied him going into the King George but he bled that day and just stopped.
“I don’t think the track will be a problem for him. With the ground being right, it’s the right thing to do.”
National dream possible for Fiddlerontheroof
After finishing a close second in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, Fiddlerontheroof will now be given a break as the Tizzards weigh up whether to aim at the Grand National in April.
“The horse ran a blinder but if I’m happy being beaten half a length in a Ladbrokes Trophy then something is wrong,” Tizzard said.
“We’re had lots of talks about where to go. The King George was an option but it probably would have come too soon so now we’re thinking he could run very well in a Grand National. We might wait to run until after the [Grand National] weights come out.”
The Big Breakaway is on a recovery mission after being well beaten by Chantry House in a two-runner event at Sandown last month.
The six-year-old, winless since his chase debut in November last year, will take it slow while the team find a suitable target in the spring.
“We were disappointed with him at Sandown,” Tizzard said. “He just didn’t operate and looked awkward.
“He’s had his wind done, had a month on the walker and is just back cantering now.
“We might try and get a run into him before something at Cheltenham.”