Native River wins Gold Cup for Tizzard

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The Cheltenham Gold Cup is everything in everyone's life and there's no pretending it's not. "Richard Johnson was galloping as fast as he could and jumping as fast as he could all the time and the horse never let him down once", he said. Johnson has won two Gold Cups, beginning with the 2000 running with Looks Like Trouble.

Speaking to ITV Racing, Tizzard said: "It's unreal".

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.

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

Native River had finished second previous year, but held off Nicky Henderson's Might Bite in a fascinating joust up the hill to complete momentous day for trainer Colin Tizzard, who celebrated a first Gold Cup success.

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The horse had been prepared specially for the Gold Cup, run only once previously this term, winning the Denman Chase.

But Native River rallied to hold off his rival by 4-1/2 lengths.

The master of Seven Barrows is on the cusp of becoming the first trainer to land the meet's three showpieces, having already watched Buveur D'air and Altior bring home the Champion Hurdle and Chase. "It was the right thing to do to take him on".

"It is the hardest race of the season as you get horses like Sizing John who can travel and then show pace at the end".

Native River has won 11 of 21 starts. Native River has been laid out for this and was given just the one prep run ahead of his second tilt at the Gold Cup. On Friday, he was troubled by one horse in the Gold Cup and was alone at the finish.