Cheltenham Festival: Native River powers to thrilling Gold Cup glory

17 March, 2018, 01:29 | Author: Miranda Cannon
  • Ruby Walsh and Footpad are brilliant winners of the Racing Post Arkle

Johnson has won two Gold Cups, beginning with the 2000 running with Looks Like Trouble. He jumps for fun.

The Gold Cup is the most prestigious race in the jumps racing calendar and has been won by numerous greats of the racing game.

"I remember I saw two white feet coming and I turned and said to Maureen, my wife, 'What in the name of God do we have here?'", Mackey told Racing Post of the horse previous year.

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.

However, last year's third Native River is going somewhat under the radar despite being the 4/1 second favourite.

Saphir Du Rheu, who was fifth in last year's Gold Cup behind Sizing John, was a full 36 lengths behind Native River in that Newbury race. I was getting squeezed, but at the second-last and the last he just wanted it so much.

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

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

"Its a long time to wait 18 years!" At the last two, he was very courageous. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is everything in everyone's life, there's no pretending it's not. We've had a wonderful preparation and you think something could go wrong in the race, but it didn't. It doesn't get better, does it?'

Henderson conceded that Might Bite was beaten by the better horse, but feels his horse was disadvantaged by the very soft ground. Native River has been laid out for this and was given just the one prep run ahead of his second tilt at the Gold Cup.



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