Cheltenham Pageant 2018: Native River sees off Would possibly Chunk to win Gold Cup

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Native River noticed off Would possibly Chunk to make all of the working in what was an epic duel for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Third 12 months in the past, the Colin Tizzard-trained Native River (5-1) went two locations higher to win within the palms of champion jockey Richard Johnson, who was touchdown the blue riband for the second time after Appears Like Hassle in 2000.

Native River and Would possibly Chunk, the Four-1 favorite, have been the primary two all through and it was the previous who proved stronger from the final fence to prevail by four-and-a-half lengths. The pair have been an additional 4 lengths away from 33-1 probability Anibale Fly in third.

Johnson mentioned: “I am speechless. He is been a incredible horse for me and I used to be fortunate to choose up the trip on him.

“He is simply wonderful. He jumps for enjoyable. I used to be getting squeezed, however on the second-last and the final he simply needed it a lot.

“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.”

He added: “Eighteen years (since Looks Like Trouble) seems a long time!”

Tizzard mentioned: “It is unreal. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is every little thing in everybody’s life and there is not any pretending it isn’t. Richard Johnson was galloping as quick as he might and leaping as quick as he might on a regular basis and the horse by no means let him down as soon as.

“Would possibly Chunk got here to him and I assumed that was it, however he simply powered away once more.

“We have had a beautiful preparation with him, so that you assume one thing’s going to go incorrect within the race, nevertheless it did not. His kind has gone on from final yr.

“I can’t believe it. It doesn’t get better, does it?”

Johnson had made his intentions clear from the beginning of the prolonged three-and-a-quarter-mile take a look at by setting off in entrance, however he was shadowed all the best way by De Boinville and Would possibly Chunk.

They dominated proceedings all over and no different horse was in a position to get to them.

Would possibly Chunk, bidding to offer Nicky Henderson an unprecedented treble after the victories of Buveur D’Air within the Champion Hurdle and Altior within the Queen Mom Champion Chase, seemed to be going the higher of the 2 as they turned for residence.

Nevertheless, the King George VI Chase winner was simply discovered wanting from the final, because the stamina of final season’s Hennessy and Welsh Nationwide scorer kicked in.

Tizzard’s son and assistant, Joe, mentioned: “Dicky (Johnson) gave him a incredible trip. It regarded like Would possibly Chunk was going to possibly outclass him, however he is a tricky, trustworthy horse – he is unbelievable.

“All credit to Dicky, he set the fractions.”

De Boinville was gracious in defeat, saying: “The rain simply got here on the incorrect time for us. He ran a cracking race, although, and take nothing away from the winner there. He is a real champion, he floor it out on that floor.

“Colin Tizzard totally deserves it bringing that horse again from such an extended lay off and producing him like that. Our lad ran a terrific race and the bottom simply discovered us out from the final to the road.

“I think we got our head in front winging the last and then the ground on that track is the worst from the last to the line and we just tied up on it – pure and simple.”

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