Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Cheltenham Festival: Native River romps to Gold Cup success

Cheltenham Festival: Native River romps to Gold Cup success

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 showed, again, his limitless stamina, and the determination to win regardless of the conditions when Johnson took off the gloves and the pair slugged it out to the winning post.

Anibale Fly (33-1) finished third in the flagship race of the four-day meeting.

Might Bite, bidding to give Nicky Henderson an unprecedented treble after the victories of Buveur D'Air in the Champion Hurdle and Altior in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, appeared to be going the better of the two as they turned for home. "He loves jumping and nearly waits for things in front and just does what he has to", said Richard. "He's just wonderful", said Johnson, who won the Gold Cup with Looks Like Trouble in 2000.

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Native River made history, becoming the first horse to win the Gold Cup after losing a previous renewal.

I have always been a fan of the unbeaten hurdler Redicean, but fear the ground has gone against the Alan King-trained juvenile and I have jumped ship at the 11th hour to the Nicky Henderson filly Apples's Shakira.

Tizzard said: "It's unreal". I think the ground may have gone against the uneasy favourite Might Bite (4/1 with BetVictor) who won a sub-standard King George at Kempton last time despite being carried out to the left at many of his fences by Bristol de Mai.

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Our Duke 5-2 (11-10) Led and disputed, bad mistake in lead 4 out, pressed 3 out and soon ridden, jumped slightly left 2 out and joined, kept on best from last and edged ahead run-in, won at Gowran Park 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) hvy in Feb beating Presenting Percy (11-3) by 1l, 5 ran.

"It's the fourth day and the Irish have been winning everything - I was thinking our form is not as good as we imagined", added Tizzard. You wouldn't tell him what to do, because he knew what he was going to do a week ago. Our lad ran a terrific race and the ground just found us out from the last to the line.

"When Might Bite came alongside, I thought oh, no, but then Richard was brilliant. It was a great race and just nice to see a British one-two after this week!"

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