Native Steps up Workload
Sporting Life - 2010-02-04
Noel Meade is stepping up Go Native's work as the crack hurdler nears his date with a potential £1million bonus at Cheltenham next month, writes Keith Hamer.
Go Native is already two-thirds of the way to collecting the seven-figure cash sum thanks to winning the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdle.
All the seven-year-old has to do now is to land the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, and with it the WBX Hurdling Triple Crown.
"When Go Native arrived back in Ireland after Kempton he looked very well and fortunately we have had no hold-ups with him since," the Navan trainer said on his latest blog on the wbxtriplecrown website.
"With around six weeks to go until Cheltenham we are just starting to increase his workload ahead of the Champion Hurdle and I'll probably be taking him to Leopardstown for a piece of work on the grass in the near future.
"Having won the Fighting Fifth Hurdle back in 2007 with Harchibald it was disappointing to just get beaten at Kempton in the second leg when we were going for the £1million bonus but we have a terrific opportunity now.
"It is very exciting to be involved, especially with so much money at stake.
"The betting suggests it is a wide open Champion Hurdle this year and there appear six or seven horses in with genuine chances. I am just glad Go Native is one of them.
"Solwhit, the current favourite, was impressive last time out in the Irish Champion and seems to enjoy a battle while it will be interesting to see how Zaynar copes with the drop back in trip to two miles.
"Alan King's Medermit, who finished second to Go Native last year at Cheltenham, did the job well at Haydock when defeating Punjabi.
"Binocular must not be discounted - he obviously shows plenty at home as he is usually well-backed and was a close third last year.
"Finally, the comparisons between Go Native and Harchibald have been well documented since Kempton and I can confirm that the pair are similar types of horse.
"However, I'd have to say Go Native possesses a lot more speed than Harchibald. Hopefully he will be able to show that in the Champion Hurdle."
Reigning titleholder Punjabi has been beaten in his two races so far this winter, but his connections have certainly not lost faith in Nicky Henderson's charge.
In his latest blog, owner Raymond Tooth's racing manager Tony Stafford said: "The reigning champion might not have had ideal preparations to his two races so far, given his own requirement for excessive work at home, and the snow before his Haydock run behind Medermit.
"But Punjabi has been fortunate, indeed, with the timing of those races and Wincanton's Kingwood Hurdle should ensure he gets to his main objective fully prepared."
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