Native River won Newbury's Denman Chase for a third time on Saturday afternoon, with an impressive display ahead of Cheltenham.
With regular jockey Richard Johnson injured, it was left to Jonjo O'Neill Jr to fill the void and he duly guided the 10-year-old to Grade 2 glory.
The son of Indian River was at the front right from the off and, jumping well throughout, claimed the spoils by two and 3/4 lengths from Secret Investor.
Might Bite's woes continue and he was a distant third ahead of A Toi Phil but it was all about the winner.
Trainer Colin Tizzard was delighted with his charge's display and feels it gives him every chance of claiming a second Gold Cup title at the Festival after winning the blue riband event in 2018.
"They left him alone today and no one decided to come with us," he said. It was a lovely prep race for the Gold Cup.
"Jonjo felt as if he hadn't really got serious with him. He gave him a couple of little flicks and he was away and that is him all over. He is hardly blowing there."
Article Posted on Saturday 8th February 2020 @ 16.25
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