By Racinguk.com staff
Connections of Native River are counting down the days to Cheltenham after the eight-year-old overcame an 11-month absence to land the Denman Chase for the second year running at Newbury.
All roads now lead to the Timico Gold Cup in which the Colin Tizzard-trained gelding was third last March behind Sizing John.
He is now a general 6-1 chance to go two places better.
"He was fine this morning and we've only another 30 anxious days or so," said Garth Broom, who is part of the Brocade Racing syndicate that owns Native River.
"We stopped for a meal with Colin and the gang last night.
"We got back about 12.30am and watched the race six or seven times. He won without having a hard race, which was quite nice for him really.
"I wouldn't swap him for another horse in the race. He came through that and that's what I hoped for.
"The main thing is we wanted to give him a comeback race ready for the Gold Cup as that has been the target, and it is so far so good."
Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard reported that Native River was in good order on Sunday morning.
"He pulled out absolutely fine but we’ll have our fingers crossed for the next couple of days," he told Racing UK. "It is all about the Gold Cup this year, it was all about the Hennessy last year.
"Yesterday could not have gone any better, he jumped brilliantly and he picked up nicely and has not had too hard a race."
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