Native River will step up his preparations ahead of a potential return in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on January 27 with a racecourse gallop next week.

The extended three-mile-one-furlong contest is one of two Grade Two races, alongside the Betfair Chase at Newbury on February 10, being considered as a possible starting point for the seven-year-old by trainer Colin Tizzard.

Last year's Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National winner has not been seen since finishing third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Tizzard said: "He is going to have a racecourse gallop next week and he is ready now for that.

"The Cotswold is in four weeks' time and he might go for that, or we might wait for the Denman.

"We are just looking at running in something before the Gold Cup."

Kilbricken Storm should solve the conundrum that is the Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury.

Colin Tizzard's six-year-old has made breathless progress this season and ought to be good enough to land what is hardly an epic renewal of the Grade One.

Kilbricken Storm had to work quite hard to win a Grade Two at Cheltenham two weeks ago, but, even in spite of a tendency to hang left, it was reassuring to see him finish off his race so strongly.

That was his first start for Tizzard over three miles, which certainly bodes well with the Albert Bartlett in mind at the Festival in March.

And though this represents a drop back in trip, it should hold no terrors as he showed a bit of boot when an admittedly fortunate winner over two miles at Wincanton last month.

Kilbricken Storm has clearly made immeasurable improvement since then and should be followed with interest at Newbury.