The Saying that every cloud has a silver lining must surely ring loud in the ears of the Ducado Syndicate in these tough times as the six-member syndicate stand on the brink of collecting their share of a huge £1million Triple Crown Bonus sponsored by WBX.COM which goes to the winner of the WBX.COM Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, The Stan James Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle on Tuesday next March 16.
Having triumphed in the Supreme Novices Hurdle the opening event at last years festival there was every chance the son of Definite Article and Native Idea would be heading down the novice chasing route this season but the decision of connections to go down the Grade 1 Hurdling route has most definately been vindicated.
A quick glance at the market for the champion hurdle sees Go Native and Solwhit disputing favouritism at round about 4/1 and when we take a detailed look at the form on offer the Noel Meade-trained Go Native deserves his position at the head of the market.
Having got off the mark over hurdles at Kilbeggan in mid-July with comfortable seven length success over Winterdown Star, Go Native suffered a shock reverse in a novice event at the big Ballybrit summer festival but after a five-month break he returned to record two further victories over China Rock and Roberta Goldback at Punchestown and Naas respectively . It was his run at Leopardstown at Christmas 2008 behind the highly touted Hurricane Fly that showed him to be a horse which could take high rank among the season’s novices.
Then on Tuesday March 10 benefiting from a brilliant Paul Carberry ride around the inside, Go Native shot clear of his field off the home bend in the Supreme Novices Hurdle before holding the late rally of Medermit to land the festival opener at odds of 12/1 . Defeat again to Hurricane Fly at Puncestown may have had the owners briefly thinking if a novice chasing campaign but results show that the decision to shelve that option for the time being at least has proven the correct one.
Following an effortless success over Carthlawn at Tipperary in early October connections decided to travel to Gosforth Park Newcastle for the renowned first Champion Hurdle Trial of the season the WBX.COM Fighting Fifth Hurdle. Allowed to start an unconsidered 25/1 shot behind odds on favorite and 2009 Champion Hurdle third Binocular Go Native quickened off a modest pace on the run to the final flight to defeat former Champion Hurdler Sublimity by 2&1/2 lengths in good fashion and set himself and connections up for a crack at the £1 million bonus.
Leg two of the bonus took place on St Stephens Day when Binocular was again among his opponents along with the Alan Fleming-trained Starluck who must surely have given the Docado Syndicate members a right fright as he got within a short head of scuppering the Triple Crown bid. Throughout the contest though Go Native travelled with an air of authority with his slick jumping carrying him to the front on the run to the final flight and maybe a little earlier than jockey Davy Condon would have liked
Now though it is just two miles over eight flights of hurdles around the famous old course at the mecca of jump racing that is Cheltenham that stands between the Ducado Syndicate and the Noel Meade Stable and their respective share of that massive payout.
A look at the opposition will tell us that this is no easy task facing Go Native and his big race partner Paul Carberry — the Charles Byrnes-trained Solwhit would be more at home on softer ground than we are likely to get on the day , last year’s hero Punjabi looks vulnerable to an improving rival and Zaynar was defeated at 1/14 in his prep race at Kelso, so they all have something to prove even if Solwhit has the form in the book. Last years Supreme Novice runner up in my mind lacks the gears to win a Champion Hurdle while Khyber Kim the mount of Ardrahan-native Paddy Brennan was well adrift of Go Native and Medermit last year.
For me Go Native has every chance of landing the big bonus which is split £700,000 to the owners; £150,000 to the trainer; his groom will get £100,000, with the remaining £50,000 split between Noel Meade's staff — so he certainly won't lack for support and I think with the mercurial Paul Carberry sitting, backside perched high turning for home, Go Native will deliver with Starluck if he tracks him through proving his main obstacle to bringing the Champion Hurdle trophy to Galway for a second time.