Racing

Native River leads all the way in Cheltenham Gold Cup

Native River produced a stunning front-running performance to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in England on Friday, denying trainer Nicky Henderson a historic treble.

Given a brilliant ride by champion jockey Richard Johnson, the Colin Tizard-trained Native River and Henderson's favourite Might Bite fought out a thrilling duel throughout the race.

However, just as Might Bite loomed to produce a final challenge, Native River's preference for the testing conditions told as Johnson eased him to victory.

Henderson had trained the winners of the Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase earlier in the week. For Johnson, it has been a long wait since his previous win in the "blue riband" of jumps racing, having won on Looks Like Trouble in 2000.

"This horse is amazing he jumps for fun," said Johnson, his face wreathed in smiles. "It's a long time to wait 18 years.

"Those are two brave horses, but I was pleased that Might Bite kept me company."

Tizzard, who had tried and failed to win the race on several occasions with his iconic star Cue Card, - was overcome with emotion.

"Unreal, it's the race that everyone wants to win no matter what they might say," said Tizzard. - AFP

HORSE RACING