Native River trainer: 'Cheltenham Gold Cup win means everything'

Erica Roy
March 17, 2018

Trainer Tizzard was equally as made up for the horse and its remarkable achievement: 'It's unreal.

NATIVE RIVER HELD off the challenge of the favourite, Might Bite (4/1), to claim the 2018 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.

"Richard Johnson galloped and jumped as fast as he could and the horse never let him down once".

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. 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.

Anibale Fly, a 33-1 outsider, finished third, four lengths behind Might Bite, in this country's most prestigious weight-for-age race for jumpers.

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The duel on the front between Native River and Might Bite in Friday's Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup turned into a private race in the historic steeplechase in the west of England. At the last two, he was very fearless. I was getting squeezed, but at the second-last and the last he just wanted it so much.

"It's been a long 18 years", Johnson said.

"On better ground, stamina wouldn't have been an issue". To win the Cheltenham Gold Cup means everything to everyone's life.

"I knew Nico [de Boinville] was there and to be fair to Might Bite, he has run a hell of race, but I think we just outstayed him".

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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