Native River Wins the 60th Running of the Hennessy Gold Cup 2016 for Trainer Colin Tizzard and Jockey Richard Johnson
Native River – the 7/2 favourite – and jockey Richard Johnson were victorious in the 60th running of the Hennessy Gold Cup on day 2 of the Hennessy Festival at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday, November 26 for trainer Colin Tizzard.
This was both Tizzard and Johnson’s first success in the Hennessy Gold Cup Grade Three handicap chase, though Johnson finished second on Spendid in 1999 and on Planet of Sound in 2011. 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 well positioned before taking up the running from Double Ross as they approached the last fence. A strong challenge then came on the run-in from Carole’s Destrier, but Native River prevailed to win by half a length in an exciting finish with Carole’s Destrier coming second and Double Ross five lengths back in third.
Colin Tizzard said: “Everything was right for Native River today and we expected a big run. I think he traveled 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 [Cheltenham] 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.