The UK betting sites’ favourite, Native River won the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 16th. The 8-year-old River defeated Might Bite for four and a half lengths. Over 70,000 Cheltenham spectators who watched the race on Friday saw one of the most exciting Gold Cup races so far.
During the entire race, there wasn’t a lot of space for guessing the event’s winner. It could only be either Native River or Might Bite. The two horses had a lead the entire time. Anibale Fly, Road to Respect, and Djakadam finished third, fourth, and fifth respectively. Even though all the runner-ups held well during the Gold Cup race, nothing could compare to Native River’s overall excellence on Friday.
Commenting on Native River’s perfect run, Colin Tizzard said, “It's unreal. 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.”
Richard Johnson, who rode Native River, was more than excited about the victory. It’s been eighteen years since the England National Hunt rider won his first Cheltenham Gold Cup. In 2000, Johnson won the Gold Cup with Looks Like Trouble.
This year, Johnson won his second Gold Cup. To the question of what his expectations were for the Gold Cup, the jockey said, “I always thought we had a great chance of winning.”
For those wondering who Johnson was thinking of when he said we, there’s an answer. According to the jockey, winning is a result of a team effort. Everything and everyone is important – from stable staff and weather conditions to horses and riders.
“I'm speechless. He's been a fantastic horse for me, and I was lucky to pick up the ride on him. He has a massive heart and just gets on with the job,” said Johnson.