Native River repels Might Bite to win Cheltenham Gold Cup

Ruby Walsh and Footpad are brilliant winners of the Racing Post Arkle

Ruby Walsh and Footpad are brilliant winners of the Racing Post Arkle

NATIVE River, ridden by Richard Johnson, prevailed over favourite Might Bite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in one of the all-time classic racing duels. The two jumped the last fence together before 5-1 Native River gained a final advantage.

"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.

The Gold Cup goes off at 3.30pm.

Anibale Fly (33-1) finished third in the flagship race of the four-day meeting. At the last two, he was very courageous.

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

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Winning jockey Johnson smiled broadly after his second Gold Cup win, 18 years after his first on Looks Like Trouble.

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. "It was the right thing to do to take him on". But in that ground you have to work so much harder.

Native River won his owners 369,822 pounds ($515,000).

Native River was by farmer Fred Mackey and is handled in England by trainer Colin Tizzard. Native Rivers has been plotted a lighter route back to the Festival, seen just once this season when winning the Denman Chase.

Owner JP McManus is responsible for Irish Gold Cup victor Edwulf (Joseph O'Brien), last year's runner-up Minella Rocco (Jonjo O'Neill) and Anibale Fly (Tony Martin).

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