Card 'in lovely form' for Bowl as River is stood down for season
Hennessy winner and Gold Cup third Native River will not be seen again this season, with connections deciding against going to Aintree next week.
The seven-year-old was originally on course for a rematch with stablemate Cue Card in Thursday's Betway Bowl, but while Cue Card is due to be at Aintree to defend his title, Native River will be enjoying a well-deserved rest after a spectacular campaign.
As well as the Hennessy, Native River also captured the Welsh Grand National and Grade 2 Denman Chase before his valiant Gold Cup effort, and the Tizzards feel he has done enough for the season.
'We've left him out'
Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard said on Friday: "We were heading to Aintree, but he's had a harder race at Cheltenham than we thought so we've left him out.
"That'll be him for the season and we'll look after him for next year. He's only seven and has been to some big races. He's a young horse with a big future and we didn't want to bottom him out."
With Native River out, Cue Card was cut to 7-4 favourite (from 5-2) for the Bowl, and was reported in good form by Tizzard.
The 11-year-old took a heavy fall three out in the Gold Cup for the second season running, but Tizzard added: "Paddy Brennan was in schooling him on Thursday and he schooled really well, with no ill-effects from Cheltenham. He seems in lovely form so hopefully he can do what he did last year and bounce back."
Also heading to Aintree is Finian's Oscar, who was forced to miss Cheltenham with a minor setback.
Gold Cup-winning jockey Robbie Power, who is now number one rider for owners Ann and Alan Potts, was at the Tizzard yard on Friday schooling the Tolworth Hurdle winner, and he will be joined at the meeting by Champion Chase runner-up Fox Norton.
Another who will not be making the trip to Merseyside is the Gordon Elliott-trained Mares' Hurdle heroine Apple's Jade.
She had been pencilled in to meet Champion Hurdle winner Buveur d'Air in the Grade 1 Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle but will instead stay in Ireland for meetings closer to home later in the season.