CHAMPION jockey Richard Johnson bids for Cheltenham Gold Cup Glory this week when he partners Native River in the feature race of the Cheltenham Festival on Friday.

Following his winning seasonal appearance at Newbury the recent snow and heavy rain producing the softer going on which he thrives has seen the horse come in for strong support over recent days and is now a second favourite behind market leader Might Bite.

Commenting earlier in the week the Kingsland based Johnson said of the horse whose strong front-running performances make it difficult for rivals:

“Native River is obviously the one I’m looking forward to riding this year. He’s had a later start than the rest of them but that could actually be a bonus. I’d say it’s an open Gold Cup and he holds every chance if he reproduces his form from last year,” he added.

Byton trainer Kerry Lee had Top Gamble entered yesterday's feature race the Queen Mother Champion Chase and also has her consistent Gino Trail in the meetings final event, Fridays Grand Annual Chase which could prove an astute entry.