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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 21 April, 2018

Native River outlasts them all to win the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup

It was a stunning performance from the winner.

Richard Jonhson celebrates on board Native River.
Richard Jonhson celebrates on board Native River.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

NATIVE RIVER HELD off the challenge of the favourite, Might Bite (4/1), to claim the 2018 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup .

In an epic battle up the Prestbury Park hill, it looked for all the word like Nicky Henderson’s charge would justify his favouritism but Native River (5/1) was not to be denied having finished third in this race last year.

It was a first Cheltenham Gold Cup for trainer Colin Tizzard but a second for jockey Richard Johnson who won on Looks Like Trouble 18 years ago.

“I’m speechless,” said Johnson after the race.

He’s been a fantastic horse for me and I was lucky to pick up the ride on him. He’s just amazing. He jumps for fun. I was getting squeezed, but at the second-last and the last he just wanted it so much.

“I knew Nico [de Boinville] was there and to be fair to Might Bite, he has run a hell of race, but I think we just outstayed him. They are two very brave horses.”

The pair made all the running and it was clear from three out that nobody was catching them:

33/1 outsider Anibale Fly took third place, four lengths back.

There was very little luck for the Irish with Jessica Harrington — last year’s winning trainer — having to watch second-favourite Our Duke pull up while Road to Respect and Willie Mullins’ Djakadam finished fifth.

33/1 shot wins the Albert Bartlett as the bookies bounce back on day four of Cheltenham

LIVE: Day 4 of Cheltenham

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Steve O'Rourke

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