Native River wins first Hennessy Gold Cup for Richard Johnson

Native River wins first Hennessy Gold Cup for Richard Johnson

Champion jockey Richard Johnson won a first Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury aboard Native River.

Trained by the white-hot Colin Tizzard, the 7-2 favourite showed heart and courage to claim success in one of the highlights of the National Hunt season.

Native River was always prominent in the three-and-a-quarter-mile handicap, before he was sent on his way to the front five out.

Double Ross firstly emerged a worthy foe, and fleetingly had things under control at the next fence.

But Johnson was not having any of it and cajoled his mount for another thrust of energy which saw Native River regain the lead at the last.

Native River wins first Hennessy Gold Cup for Richard Johnson

With the eventual winner beginning to tire, Carole's Destrier suddenly emerged from the pack as a live threat.

The 25-1 outsider would probably have won within a few more strides, but Native River kept strong when it mattered to score by half a length.

Double Ross was an honourable third, with Hadrian's Approach finishing fourth.

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