21 March 2018
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Winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Native River was simply fantastic. He didn’t put a foot wrong all through the race and he stuck his neck out gamely at the end.
The media interest has been tremendous – in some ways more arduous than the race itself, but it’s a price I’m more than happy to pay. I’ve done so many interviews there probably isn’t anything new I can add. As a purist, winning the Gold Cup means more to me than the National. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to win them both, but the Gold Cup is the best race for the best horses.
After the race, because I was riding at Kempton the next day and I was the designated driver, I had to stay on the orange juice while we celebrated with Native River’s owners and the Tizzards. Then on the way home we stopped off at McDonald's – nothing but the best!
It’s been great having children this time round, and that they’ve been able to witness it. They have only seen pictures of me winning on Looks Like Trouble eighteen years ago. They took my Gold Cup trophy into school the other day to show their friends; it was all very exciting for them.
Comparing it with winning in 2000, I think I can appreciate it more now. When you’re as young as I was when I won it that first time, you don’t realise how hard it is to win. I’ve had about ten rides in it since, but those with good chances have been few and far between.
It was a tough race and Native River will get a nice long well-deserved holiday. He’ll be back later in the year. November’s Betfair Chase at Haydock, the Denman at Newbury in February and then the Gold Cup is the plan in mind at the moment.
It’s good for Chepstow that they’ve got another horse who has gone on from winning the Welsh Grand National, like Synchronised did a few years ago, proving that it can be a legitimate stepping-stone to Gold Cup success.
For now, it’s business as usual with my local meetings at Chepstow and Ludlow this week and probably Newbury on Saturday.
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