Talking Horses: Native River in line for King George if ground is testing

Tony Paley and Greg Wood
<span>Photograph: David Davies/PA</span>
Photograph: David Davies/PA

Colin Tizzard may send Native River in a surprise move to join stablemate Lostintranslation in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

“I hope it rains every day between now and Kempton, then I might run Native River as well,” Tizzard revealed during a media event at his stables on Tuesday morning. “It might be that they go flat out in the King George and that is why we are keeping the door half open. If the ground came up soft or even heavy, then he could be supplemented.”

Scroll to continue with content

Related: Talking Horses: Sandown seven either failed to see the flag, or ignored it

Native River, who was third in the King George last year, returned this season with victory at Aintree last weekend and would have to be supplemented for Kempton. He has been introduced at 16-1 for the King George by the sponsors Ladbrokes.

Lostintranslation is joint-favourite with Cyrname for the Kempton highlight after his defeat of Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month, and his trainer enthused about his chances on Tuesday.

“Lostintranslation has come out of Haydock beautifully. He is a big, strong horse in the peak of his powers at the moment and I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Tizzard. “There is no doubt he has got the pace for Kempton and he showed at Haydock he has got more stamina than Bristol De Mai, which is another feather in his cap.

”He is a beautiful horse, but it is going to be a really tough race. Cyrname looks fantastic, Altior is a fantastic horse, Clan Des Obeaux won it last year and I don’t know what the Irish are going to send over.”

Tizzard has also not yet ruled out running Thistlecrack in the race for the fourth time though is presently in favour of running last year’s King George runner-up in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on 21 December.

Tizzard said: “Thistlecrack has come out of the race at Newbury fine. The question for ourselves is, is the staying hurdle division easier than the King George/Gold Cup division? Yes it is. There is a very good chance he will stay over hurdles. If one or two in the King George dropped out that might change, but at the moment I would say we are leaning towards the hurdles route.

“It was a lovely run at Newbury. He is 11 going on 12, so we have got to mind him because he has been delicate. He might only want three runs this year and if we don’t think he is right [for Ascot] we might wait until the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham at the end of January.” Tony Paley

Tuesday’s best bets, by Greg Wood

Nicky Henderson does not saddle many eight-year-old mares over fences – only two, in fact, in the last 16 seasons, and both Ma Filleule and Nadiya De La Vega had been jumping the bigger obstacles from their four-year-old days in France. He has not sent a single eight-year-old mare over fences for the first time since at least 2003 – which is where my database stops – so plenty of punters are likely to take the hint when With Discretion (2.10) finally makes her chasing debut under Rules at Uttoxeter.

With Discretion has clearly been a difficult horse to train and made her hurdling debut at now-defunct Towcester in March 2018, almost three years after her last start in a point-to-point in May 2015. But she was backed liked a good thing when she did appear, duly delivered and then followed up by 11 lengths at Newton Abbot a month later.

She was then absent for another 13 months, before reappearing at Grade One level, no less, in a five-runner Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in April. It proved too tough an assignment for her, but Henderson clearly believes she has inherited plenty of ability from her grand-dam Loving Around, who took the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in 1996. The programme for mares has improved significantly in recent years, both over fences and hurdles, and With Discretion could yet prove to be just the type to take advantage.

Fontwell also has an interesting female runner on the card as French import Gelboe De Chanay (1.30), currently priced at around 25-1 for the Triumph Hurdle in March, makes her debut over British timber having won a Listed event at Auteuil by 14 lengths on her last start in France.

Quarenta (2.00) could be the pick of the three runners in the handicap chase that follows, while the most eye-catching price of the day is the 10-1 about Diamonique (5.15) at Wolverhampton.

Keith Dalgleish’s charge was a little short of room against the far rail when third in a good time at Kempton in October and is now 2lb below the mark from which she was successful in a Musselburgh nursery last year. Sir Hector (7.15) is another to consider on the same card.

Fontwell 12.30 Two Sams 1.00 Christmas In April 1.30 Gelboe De Chanay 2.00 Quarenta (nb) 2.30 Mystic Dreamer 3.00 Gold Mountain 3.30 Lochinver

Uttoxeter 12.40 Poucor 1.10 Vereina 1.40 Bullionaire 2.10 With Discretion 2.40 Passam 3.10 Freddie Darling

Wolverhampton 3.45 Goddess Of Fire 4.15 Millicent Fawcett 4.45 Augustus Caesar 5.15 Diamonique (nap) 5.45 Disruptor 6.15 Boy In The Bar 6.45 Grey Mist 7.15 Sir Hector

What to read next