After their win at The Festival last season, Champion jockey Richard Johnson and Native River will try to defend their titles at this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. The rider believes that Native River is his best chance of a winner at The Festival.
But as Collin Tizzard, Native River’s trainer, chose to bypass the rescheduled version after the equine influenza crisis, the pair will arrive at The Festival with no run in the Denman Chase. Still, Johnson is positive that Native River will be on the winning position again, further assuring that the horse is his best ride for the entire Cheltenham Festival.
At a recent preview night, Johnson, together with Native River, hopes that they’ll be the next back-to-back winners following Best Mate’s wins for three consecutive years. The jockey also mentioned that the nine-year-old runner likes going left-handed, and that three miles and two and a half furlongs bring out the best in Native River. With that, Johnson thinks there’s so much more that his horse can do, and that they can beat the majority of the English runners at the Cheltenham Gold Cup.