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Dromore-bred Native River beats favourite to win Cheltenham Gold Cup

Dromore-bred Native River beats favourite to win Cheltenham Gold Cup

"For me, the Gold Cup is everything in life".

He's been a fantastic horse for me and I was lucky to pick up the ride on him.

For Johnson it had been a long wait since his previous win in the "blue riband" of jumps racing having won on Looks Like Trouble in 2000.

He said: "It was unreal, wasn't it?"

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.

"He was fearless and the horse was courageous".

Native River came out on top in a thrilling duel with Might Bite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and deny Nicky Henderson a historic treble.

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The eight-year-old has not had the best of preparations, finishing fourth in the Irish Gold Cup after a jumping error and edged an enthralling encounter with Presenting Percy, victor of the RSA, in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park.

Might Bite 6-4fav (11-10) With leader, led 10th to 11th, led again 4 out, pushed along next, ridden approaching last, stayed on well, won at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec beating Double Shuffle (11-10) by 1l, 8 ran. He showed no such tendencies on Friday while always racing within a length or two of Native River.

Henderson feared the turf course had taken its toll after he watched Might Bite jump the final fence.

Dromore-bred Native River has won the 2018 Gold Cup.

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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