Top 5 National Hunt Performances of the Season

NATIVE RIVER WINS GOLD CUP CLASSIC

The never say die attitude of Native River saw him out-gun Might Bite in a titanic tussle to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. They were hard to separate in the market and so it proved as with Native River leading Might Bite came upsides as they tackled the Cheltenham Hill.

The latter seemed to be going the better, but as Richard Johnson asked his mount for more Native Rive obliged. The nine-year-old powered clear in the final furlong to win the Gold Cup for Colin Tizzard at 5/1.

Unsurprisingly after a race so demanding Native River didn’t run again last season. In fact this was one of only two runs the horse had. The horse is sure to have a similar season this year with the Gold Cup again earmarked.

(Credit Racing UK)

BUVEUR D’AIR SHOWS BATTLING QUALITIES IN CHAMPION HURDLE

Buveur d’Air won the Champion Hurdle for the second year in succession and showed his liking for a battle after some comprehensive victories.

The seven-year-old was pushed all the way by Willie Mullins runner Melon, but when Barry Geraghty ask his charge for more obliged, winning the race by a neck and showed he has the character to go with the class.

The horse did not go on to Aintree like the previous season meaning this performance completed two full seasons unbeaten and 10 runs without defeat in total. It will be interesting to see what is in store this season for the French bred superstar.

(Credit Racing UK and Cheltenham Racecourse)

EXEMPLARY JUMPING WINS KING GEORGE FOR MIGHT BITE

Whilst he didn’t go on to win the Gold Cup, Might Bite’s performance in the King George on Boxing day showed he was a force to be reckoned with.

He put in an utterly faultless round of jumping. Whilst he did idle to the finish line to give 50-1 shot Double Shuffle a sniff, the horse held on by a length. Jumping had always been a concern for Might Bite, but this day proved when he puts it all together he is a very tough horse to beat.

The way the horse did idle up the straight gave followers flashbacks of previous runs at Cheltenham when the horse had run out. He got the job done here and was so close to following that up with Gold Cup victory in March.

(Credit ITV Racing)

57 LENGTH WIN FOR BRISTOL DE MAI IN BETFAIR CHASE

The manner of Bristol De Mai’s win back in November was remarkable considering the horses he had in behind. The heavy ground was just what the Grey wanted and in the hands of Daryl Jacob he put the field to the sword.

Considering a horse of Cue Cards ability was second showed what a classy performance this really was. Sadly for his followers the performance proved somewhat a false dawn. He finished a 26 length sixth in the King George before finishing third at Cheltenham the following January.

A second at the Grand National meeting was an admirable run but connections will be disappointed that this emphatic victory was the final victory of the season.

(Credit ITV Racing)

NATIONAL VICTORY FOR DAVY RUSSELL AND TIGER ROLL

10/1 shot Tiger Roll won the Grand National in memorable style in one of the closest finishes in recent memory. In what was Davy Russel’s fourteenth attempt at winning the iconic race Russell went early on the eight-year-old who was the smallest horse in the race.

He looked a sure-fire winner but was getting reeled in by Pleasant Company at a rate of knots. Jockey Keith Donoghue must have been slightly disappointed as he had rode the horse on its previous outing, a win at Cheltenham.

However, the victory was an emotional moment for Russell who had recently lost his mother.

(Credit ITV Racing)

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