Kemboy is also highly fancied for success and has come on leaps and bounds this season yet is still to prove himself in a championship event.
What is the latest news?
By Press Association
Native River is worth supporting in his bid to become the first horse since Best Mate to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in successive years.
Soft ground will bring Native River’s stamina into play, just as it did 12 months ago when he outstayed Might Bite on the run-in to take chasing’s blue-riband prize by four and a half lengths.
He was put away for the season by trainer Colin Tizzard after that triumph, and it is fair to say he has not been at his best in both his runs so far this term.
After playing second fiddle to Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, Native River found the three miles at Kempton an inadequate test.
He never got into a challenging position, but he did stay on in the closing stages to take third place behind Clan Des Obeaux in the King George.
The latter is seen as a threat to Native River retaining his crown, but there will be more in the champion’s favour this time.