Arts&Culture

Native River can land showpiece Cheltenham Gold Cup

Native River can land showpiece Cheltenham Gold Cup”

"He was a good horse today and the chap on him was as good as the horse", Tizzard said.

Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Native River's trainer Colin Tizzard has described the victory as "unreal".

"I'm speechless. He's been a fantastic horse for me and I was lucky to pick up the ride on him", said Johnson.

"The more I asked from him, the better he jumped". Those in Britain are talking up Might Bite while many in Irish circles are saying last year's Irish Grand National victor Our Duke looks like a Gold Cup victor.

In front of a sell-out 70,000 crowd, including Princess Anne and Coronation Street soap stars, Native River beat Might Bite, the favourite, in the biggest race of the festival.

Native River had finished second past year, but held off Nicky Henderson's Might Bite in a fascinating joust up the hill to complete momentous day for trainer Colin Tizzard, who celebrated a first Gold Cup success. He jumps for fun.

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However, just as Might Bite loomed to produce a final challenge, Native River's preference for the testing conditions told and Johnson eased him to victory. At the last two, he was very courageous.

"Its a long time to wait 18 years!"

"It's unreal. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is everything in everyone's life and there's no pretending it's not".

Henderson conceded that Might Bite was beaten by the better horse, but feels his horse was disadvantaged by the very soft ground. We've had a wonderful preparation and you think something could go wrong in the race, but it didn't.

The pair are expected to resume their rivalry in next year's Gold Cup, with Native River already priced as a $6 favourite.



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