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Cheltenham Festival: Native River romps to Gold Cup success

Cheltenham Festival: Native River romps to Gold Cup success

Native River won a thrilling Cheltenham Gold Cup after an epic duel with Might Bite.The 5-1 chance gave Dorset trainer Colin Tizzard his first victory in the race after some spectacular jumping under champion jockey Richard Johnson.Favourite Might Bite (4-1), seeking an historic Cheltenham Festival treble for trainer Nicky Henderson, was a gallant runner-up, beaten by four and a half lengths.
Anibale Fly (33-1) finished third ahead of Road To Respect and Djakadam.But the race was all about the memorable battle between last year's third-placed horse Native River and the King George VI Chase winner Might Bite.The pair led from the front, roared on by a sell-out 70,000 crowd, and went toe-to-toe over 22 fences and three and a quarter miles in soft ground, with none of their rivals posing a serious challenge.Henderson was bidding to be the first trainer to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup at one Cheltenham Festival meeting.And Might Bite looked a serious contender for much of the race, before the 2016 Welsh National winner Native River stormed up the hill.Winning jockey Johnson smiled broadly after his second Gold Cup win, 18 years after his first on Looks Like Trouble. And victory sealed a 203-1 double for Tizzard, who sidelines as a dairy farmer, after 33-1 shot Kilbricken Storm had won the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle on Kilbricken Storm.More to follow.
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