18 Feb 2019 - NEWSCHELTENHAM FESTIVAL STABLE TOUR: NICKY HENDERSON
Gold Cup Result: Native River bravely holds on from Might Bite
Posted in: Cheltenham Festival News
Stamina won the day in the Gold Cup with last year's third Native River outstaying 4/1 favourite Might Bite. Completing a quick double on the card for trainer Colin Tizzard, Native River was a second winner of the race for champion jockey Richard Johnson eighteen years after Looks Like Trouble.
Johnson sent Native River straight into the lead, determined to make use of his mount's proven stamina, though he had Might Bite in a close second the whole way with few others threatening to land a blow. Might Bite drew upsides Native River once they'd turned for home, looking a serious threat, but the former Welsh National winner had more to give up the hill, running out the game winner by four and a half lengths.
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Johnson said: "I'm speechless. He's been a fantastic horse for me and I was lucky to pick up the ride on him. He's just amazing. He jumps for fun. I was getting squeezed, but at the second-last and the last he just wanted it so much.
"I knew Nico (de Boinville, on Might Bite) was there and to be fair to Might Bite, he's run a hell of race, but I think we just outstayed him. They are two very brave horses. Eighteen years (since Looks Like Trouble) seems a long time!"
"From four out onwards he just kept picking up. I could see Might Bite next to me and going to two fences out he looked to be travelling quite well, but I knew Native River is a stayer and I felt we had to try to give him as much to do as possible. He answered every call and at the last he was very brave. Up the run-in he just kept going. It was very testing conditions out there - I'm not sure we will see them as testing again, but he's a warrior and it's a pleasure to ride him.
Another four lengths back it was 33/1 shot Anibale Fly who was first home for Ireland, coming out best in a scrap for third with Road To Respect.
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