Native River will make one last bid to win the Coral Welsh Grand National on Monday, as the former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner will be retired at the end of the season, according to connections.

One of the most popular horses in training, the 11-year-old will tackle handicap company for the first time since winning the Chepstow showpiece five years ago off a rating of 155.

Dropped 4lb for his runner-up effort to Protektorat in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree last time, Native River will line up on a hefty mark of 166.

Broome said: “Provided we get the rain they forecast, we should be going.

“We thought we’d run him as there was nothing really until the Cotswold Chase. He’s fit and well and he ran a good race in the Many Clouds, but he was outclassed by an up-and-coming horse.

“He’s now falling between two stools, between graded races and handicaps. If you do go for a handicap, you’ll be carrying a big weight.

“It is just a bit unfortunate for him that they have dropped him 4lb and he has to run off 166. It doesn’t help.

“But he likes Chepstow and hopefully the ground conditions and the distance are all pluses for him.

“He is very well in himself and while it is not ideal, he doesn’t have too many options, but he always runs his race.”

Bonanza Boy and Mountainous are the only two horses to have won two Welsh Grand Nationals in the last 32 years, but this will be Native River’s last attempt to become a dual victor.

Broome added: “After that, he won’t be going for the Gold Cup or anything.

“It will all depend on what the ground is in the spring as to whether we decide how long we carry on. Obviously it is going to be his last season.”


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