It is Timico Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday, the day into which the Festival funnels, the race into which the season funnels. Form of the Tizzard yard could be a concern, though they went close in Wednesday's Champion Chase with Fox Norton. "It is a first runner in the race for me".
Native River is another popular selection at 5/1 and has everything in his locker to overcome the odds. He said, "This is even more special as I was only 25 when I won the National and I'm 35 now".
Every jockey dreams of winning the Gold Cup but at this stage of your life you don't think it's going to happen.
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Despite his late charge, Mullins couldn't hold off Gordon Elliott in the race to be leading trainer at the Festival.
"It's absolutely fantastic, my first runner in a Gold Cup". Initially disappointing over fences, he came good to win a strong renewal of the National Hunt Chase at the last Festival, with Native River second. However it was Sizing John who ultimately came with the telling push between the final two fences to win by two and three quarter lengths, in doing so completing a big-race double having won the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown back in February.
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"I'm thrilled, he had a great spin round and finished as strongly as anything".
Owner Garth Broom said of third-placed Native River: "I felt we were slightly robbed of second right on the line, but finishing third in a Gold Cup with a seven-year-old is something you can't complain about".
By Emmanuel RousselG1 JCB Triumph Hurdle victor Defi Du Seuil (Fr) (Voix Du Nord ) may have been ridden to victory by champion jockey Richard Johnson, but the 4-year-old was also co-bred by a champion jockey, the French Flat champion Pierre-Charles Boudot, in partnership with his mother Catherine and sister Marie-Gabrielle. "He will definitely run again this season, but first let's get him home and see how he is".
The Midnight Legend gelding has another two and a half furlongs to go in the Gold Cup, but he is bred for stamina, and he wasn't stopping at the end of three miles on soft ground at Leoaprdstown. Possible that a change of stables in the autumn has helped him to take a step forward and his trainer is already among the winners at this Festival with another horse she acquired at the same time.
The pair clashed in a Grade One heat at Naas back in January and Augusta Kate was travelling noticeably well in behind before she got the last all wrong, just as she was gearing up to lay down her challenge.