Sunday 24

Horse Racing

George hails Double Shuffle's Gold Cup form

13th March 2019, 15:40 by Craig Smithson

Tim George claims Double Shuffle is in "as good a form as we've had him" ahead of his Cheltenham Gold Cup tilt on Friday.

The Slad-based trainer spoke out after his nine-year-old was confirmed as one of 16 runners in the big race at Prestbury Park.

And while Native River is heavily fancied to become the first horse to win successive renewals since Best Mate did it three times between 2002-2004, George has high hopes for Double Shuffle.

He said: "He's in unbelievably good form. He's in as good a form as we've had him.

"As long as it doesn't get very soft his owners are keen to let him take his chance and I can understand why.

"We'll let him take his chance and just see what happens, you never know. He's been second in a King George [in 2017].

"He loved Cheltenham as a young horse so we thought we've nothing to lose. Johnny Burke rides him."

In addition to Native River, trainer Colin Tizzard will also pitch Welsh Grand National hero Elegant Escape and Thistlecrack into the Gold Cup battle.

Clan Des Obeaux will feature for Paul Nicholls as he bids to claim a joint-record fifth Gold Cup success, while Pat Kelly's dual Festival winner Presenting Percy will also run.

Willie Mullins has four horses appearing; Irish Gold Cup winner Bellshill and Savills Chase victor Kemboy, Al Boum Photo and Invitation Only.

Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai is Nigel Twiston-Davies representative, while last year's JLT Novices' Chase heroine Shattered Love is included for Gordon Elliott.

Last year's runner-up Might Bite returns for Nicky Henderson with Anibale Fly, Definitly Red and Yala Enki completing the field.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.

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