Cheltenham Festival: Native River romps to Gold Cup success

Ruby Walsh Nichols Canyon via The Irish

Cheltenham Festival: Native River romps to Gold Cup success

After they jumped the last fence, Native River and Might Bite were neck and neck, but Johnson got a kick out of the Colin Tizzard-trained horse on the uphill finish and Native River won by 4 1/2 lengths - a year after finishing third in the race.

He was bidding to become the first trainer to take today's Cheltenham showpiece along with the Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase in the same season.

"This horse is awesome he jumps for fun", said Johnson, his face wreathed in smiles.

"I was happy with him at Gowran, but he does lack a bit of concentration when he's not going as quick as he'd like", she said.

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The success was at the hands of champion jockey Richard Johnson, who was landing the blue riband for the second time after Looks Like Trouble in 2000.

In an epic battle up the Prestbury Park hill, it looked for all the word like Nicky Henderson's charge would justify his favouritism but Native River (5/1) was not to be denied having finished third in this race previous year. He's just unbelievable. He jumps for fun.

Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Native River's trainer Colin Tizzard reacts to the horse's victory. At the last two, he was very fearless.

Last year's second Minella Rocco will be back hoping to go one better, the ever reliable Djakadam may get his ground, while Might Bite is "the horse that would be king" with all the potential to be a superstar.

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'Might Bite came to him and I thought that was it, but he just powered away again.

"It's been a long 18 years", Johnson said. To win the Cheltenham Gold Cup means everything to everyone's life.

"We've had a wonderful preparation with him and his form has gone on from a year ago".

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