GBI RACING

Gold Cup hero Native River crowned jumps champion following ratings release

Native River (right) sees off Might Bite to claim Cheltenham Gold Cup glory (Tim Goode/PA)

Native River was announced as the highest-rated jumps horse of the 2017/18 season at the annual Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications press conference in London on Tuesday.

The Colin Tizzard-trained eight-year-old achieved a rating of 176 for his thrilling victory over Might Bite (172) in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which puts him ahead of triple Gold Cup hero Best Mate (175), but marginally behind recent winners Don Cossack (177) and Bobs Worth (180).

Queen Mother Champion Chase victor Altior (175) gained top honours in the two-mile division, while Waiting Patiently’s figure of 170, which he achieved when winning February’s Ascot Chase, was sufficient for him to end the campaign as the top-rated chaser over two and a half miles.

Footpad (166) was the highest-rated novice chaser, just 1lb clear of Presenting Percy (165).

Faugheen’s brilliant display in the Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown guaranteed him the honour of the highest-rated hurdler of the season, with his rating of 169 leaving him 3lb clear of dual Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D’Air on 166.

Samcro was the undoubted star in the novice hurdle division with ratings of 158 over shorter distances and 160 over longer trips.

Phil Smith, head of handicapping for the British Horseracing Authority, said: “Native River has been rated best chaser in Great Britain and Ireland on 176 after winning as thrilling a Gold Cup as I have seen.

“The way he slugged it out with Might Bite was enthralling and his rating places him joint ninth of the champion three-mile chasers in the 19-year history of the Anglo-Irish jump classifications.

“In the three-mile novice category, Presenting Percy on 165 rates only behind Coneygree (172), Thistlecrack (170) and Gloria Victis (166) in the ratings this century.

“It was fairly straightforward to have Altior (175) as champion two-mile chaser, but perhaps next year he will not have things quite so much his own way as Footpad has been rated top novice at two miles on 166.”

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