Native River will miss the rest of the season and has now been withdrawn from both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the 2020 Grand National. A general 10/1 chance for the Gold Cup and second favourite for the National after Tiger Roll, the 10-year-old has now sustained a tendon injury.

Trained by Colin Tizzard, Native River has a fantastic history at Cheltenham having run in the Gold Cup three times already. He was third in 2017 before winning the prestigious race in 2018. In 2019, he placed fourth and was being primed for another go again in 2020.

Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard said: “Unfortunately we have had to scratch Native River from the Gold Cup this morning.

“It’s really disappointing but he’s just had a little tear in the suspensory tendon at the back of his knee which is going to put him out for the rest of the season.

“He was a bit sore yesterday and again this morning so we went in and scanned it, and just one of those injuries that happen,” said Tizzard.

“It’s very disappointing but that’s horses.”

The good news is that it is an injury he will recover from. Connections are hopeful that he will be back to his winning ways next season.

Remaining Gold Cup 2020 Contenders

For now, it is left to Al Boum Photo and Santini to battle it out as the joint race favourites. Both are on very short odds of around 7/2 but this isn’t a two-horse race.

In what is shaping up to be a very classy field, Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work is shortening in the betting markets with odds as low as 5/1. He is also entered into the Aintree Grand National but with top weight and only seven years old, it’s highly unlikely that Gigginstown will send him there after Cheltenham. Rated 171, the multiple Grade 1 winner goes into the Gold Cup on great form. Back-to-back wins in the Savill Chase and the Irish Gold Cup this season have boosted his claims and he could throw up a real surprise on March 13th.

Lostintranslation isn’t too far behind him in the odds. The Colin Tizzard trained eight-year-old recently suffered his first racing blip in the King George VI Chase at Kempton. Ordinarily a very consistent chaser, he was pulled-up as a result of a breathing problem. He has since had a minor op which is said to have rectified the problem.

For those looking for a potential upset, Kemboy is still excellent value at odds of around 7/1. He beat Al Boum Photo in the Punchestown Gold Cup last May. He did unseat in the race last year and has been beaten twice this season by Delta Work but he is still more than capable of running the race of his life in the Gold Cup.

With nineteen potential runners still in contention, all are guaranteed a spot in the race. However, historically only about 15 ends up running. So expect a few more to get scratched before March 13th.