Hennessy Gold Cup
Grade 3 Handicap,
Newbury 15:10
£200,000 added, 4yo plus,
3m 1f 214y, Class 1  
Saturday 26th November 2016


1 Native River 7/2F
2 Carole's Destrier 25/1
3 Double Ross 50/1
4 Hadrian's Approach 33/1
NR: Houblon Des Obeaux (FR)
19 ran Distances: ½l, 5l, 1¼l
TIME 6m 25.00s (fast by 6.00s)

Richard Johnson has his first Hennessy Gold Cup winner on Native River

Native River
© Racehorse Photos
Native River

Native River (Colin Tizzard/Richard Johnson, 7/2 favourite) landed the 60th running of the £200,000 Hennessy Gold Cup, staged at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday, November 26, day two of the bet365 Festival, Hennessy Gold Cup Day.

It was a first success in the Grade Three handicap chase, staged over three and a quarter miles, for both trainer Colin Tizzard and jockey Richard Johnson. Johnson was riding in the race for the 13th time, his best finishing position previously had been second on Spendid (1999) and Planet Of Sound (2011). It was a day to remember at Newbury for the Colin Tizzard team, with a magnificent 26.8/1 treble.

Native River was always in a prominent position and took up the running from Double Ross (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Jamie Bargary (3), 50/1) approaching the last. He then had to face a strong challenge on the run-in from the strongly-finishing Carole's Destrier (Neil Mulholland/Noel Fehily, 25/1) but held on to score by half a length in a thrilling finish with Double Ross a further five lengths back in third.

Colin Tizzard said: "Everything was right for Native River today and we expected a big run. I think he travelled better today than he ever has and he jumped beautifully. He only just won in the end but I can't believe it.

"Nowadays, we don't take horses for three-mile gallops, we just work them on our system. Loading him up this morning, I made a point of being there when he loaded up and he looked fine. Everything was right today - good ground, a flat left-handed track and it was a big race.

"He wouldn't be the fastest on the gallops. He actually won a gallop last year and we were terrified. Richard said that he went clear and looked like he was going to win by almost five lengths at one time but then the other nearly got to him and he went again. That's the sign of a good, honest, strong stayer.

"He had a tough race at Wetherby last time which put him right for this. I don't know where we go from here. If he was in the same form as this in March, we would have to think about the Gold Cup. Hennessy winners are often right up there with the best of them so we would have to consider it."

Speaking about his tremendous season so far, Tizzard continued: "I just really have to keep the handbrake on everything.

"Joe (son) is a good boy while my daughter Kim is a big player in the operation too. We tried to make a farmer of Joe, so that he does that in his sleep and eventually can do the horses as well too.

"I thought we were in good form last year but have taken off again this season and I am enjoying it. I didn't really think of the pressure until I got here today and everyone was saying good luck to me.

"I don't really have the time to get worried. It is just fantastic."


Richard Johnson said: "People keep telling me how I had never won this race, so it is always nice to get one that you haven't done before. He is a fantastic horse and Colin, Joe and the whole team - their horses are in amazing form.

"You have to come around the water jump on the run-in and he was just having a good look. I knew that he would pick up again but you are just worried that something comes and does you late on.

"I was a bit worried that I wasn't going that well turning in but he is one of the horses that, the more you ask, the more he gives. He won a Grade One over fences last season, had a great run over hurdles the other day and has won a Hennessy off 11st, so he is going the right way.

"He is a very good horse and good horses make jockeys' lives easier because they can jump, they can travel and they put you in the right position. I don't see any reason why he doesn't deserve thoughts of the Gold Cup because he stays and jumps. We have seen over the years that a stayer who jumps well will always tend to run a good race in the Gold Cup. It depends what the handicapper says - that is the most important thing now.

"The Hennessy is one of the highlights of the National Hunt season and I have been second in it a couple of times. I was worried 50 yards before the post but he found more when he needed to."

Hennessy Gold Cup Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
£200,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m 1f 214y, Class 1
19 ran
Going: Good to Soft

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Native River (IRE) 7/2f R Johnson
C L Tizzard 6
2nd ½ Carole's Destrier 25/1 N D Fehily
N P Mulholland 8
3rd 5 Double Ross (IRE) 50/1 Jamie Bargary (3)
N A Twiston-Davies 10
4th Hadrian's Approach (IRE) 33/1 Paul Moloney
N J Henderson 9
5th 1 Blaklion 13/2 Ryan Hatch
N A Twiston-Davies 7
6th Vyta Du Roc (FR) 8/1 T J O'Brien
N J Henderson 7
7th ¾ Smad Place (FR) 11/1 Wayne Hutchinson
A King 9
8th 7 Theatre Guide (IRE) 14/1 P J Brennan
C L Tizzard 9
9th ¾ Aubusson (FR) 25/1 Lizzie Kelly (5)
Nick Williams 7
10th Un Temps Pour Tout (IRE) 10/1 T Scudamore
D Pipe 7
11th 8 Henri Parry Morgan 10/1 Sean Bowen
P Bowen 8
12th s.h Triolo D'Alene (FR) 25/1 J McGrath
N J Henderson 9
13th 42 Holywell (IRE) 33/1 R P McLernon
Jonjo O'Neill 9
PU Coologue (IRE) 33/1 A P Heskin
C E Longsdon 7
PU Regal Encore (IRE) 33/1 B J Geraghty
A J Honeyball 8
PU Local Show (IRE) 25/1 Tom Cannon
B Pauling 8
PU Upswing (IRE) 25/1 Aidan Coleman
Jonjo O'Neill 8
F Saphir Du Rheu (FR) 8/1 Nick Scholfield
P F Nicholls 7
F Vicente (FR) 12/1 Harry Skelton
P F Nicholls 7
NR Houblon Des Obeaux (FR) 14/1 Charlie Deutsch (5)
Miss V Williams 9

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