Native to hit jackpot
Daily Star - 2010-03-16

Go Native can be one in a million on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, writes Mick Fitzgerald.

That’s the enticing reward in store for Noel Meade-trained gelding if he wins the feature Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle (3.20, Ch4).

There is a £1m bonus up for grabs for the horse that wins the Fighting Fifth, Christmas Hurdle and today’s big one, courtesy of online bookies WBX.

Go Native has triumphed in the first two races in the series and that incentive of a million is certainly a big one.

He has the advantage of being a previous winner at the Festival where he defeated Medermit to capture the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year.

All though Go Native was beaten on his seasonal reappearance he has won his last two races.

The first of those victories came in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, where he beat Sublimity and Solwhit with ease.

Then, in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, he defeated fast-finishing Starluck on the run-in after idling.

My idea of the first four: 1 Go Native, 2 Punjabi, 3 Khyber Kim, 4 Binocular.

Dunguib (1.30) is my tip to land the Spinal Research Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Captain Cee Bee (2.05) looks the pick of the bunch in the Arkle. Captain Cee Bee will love the ground at a course where he won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle two years ago.

 The nine-year old has returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines to win both his completed races over fences.

I would love to choose my old partner L’Ami to win the Cross Country Chase but I have to go for Garde Champetre (4.00). L’Ami has never got the better of Nina Carberry’s mount and that could be the case again here.

The reigning mares’ champion Quevega (4.40) gets the nod in the mares’ hurdle. Voler La Vedette, with four wins on the bounce, is the obvious danger.

Trainer David Pipe has a great chance in the William Hill Trophy Chase with The Package (2.40), who has been the medium of a hefty gamble and look a well-weighted, progressive sort.


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