herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Native unlikely to Go anywhere before spring

Noel Meade's seven-year-old Go Native is unlikely to get the chance to repeat his path to the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2011.

Last year saw him claim two Grade One wins on the way before a tilt at a £1 million bonus at the Cheltenham Festival itself in March.

However, Meade's charge was denied the incredible bonus when failing to justify his favourite tag in the feature race, in turn finishing 10th behind Binocular after an early mistake had ruined his chances of being competitive.

That mistake has also meant Go Native has still yet to return to training for the current campaign.

"He might be ready for Christmas, we'll see how we go, but if he's not we'll plan a spring campaign for him," Meade revealed.

"He's not back in training yet as he had to stand in his box for a long time after Cheltenham because he was injured.

"Because of that he was late going out, so it will be another while before he comes back."

Frank Berry, JP McManus's racing manager, has given a positive bulletin on Binocular who is now back in training with Nicky Henderson.

"Touch wood he's in good form," said Berry.

"He's cantering away and Nicky is very happy with him."

Berry admitted that there was no immediate plans as to where the six-year-old reigning champion would begin on the road to retain the top hurdling accolade.

"It's still early in the year but he looks well going back and is in good order," he went on. "We haven't given a lot of thought to where he'll start off.

"We'll just see how he comes along and in another month's time we'll have a better idea of where we're going."

Berry concluded with an update on exciting chaser Captain Cee Bee, who has returned from Martinstown Stud to Eddie Harty's Curragh base.

"Captain Cee Bee is back in training as well and he looks well and has done well over the summer," added Berry.

JP McManus had his colours carried to victory in the feature on day three of the Listowel Harvest Festival yesterday.

The Christy Roche-trained and Alan Crowe-ridden Sword Fish caused a 14/1 upset when claiming the Lartigue Hurdle for four-year-olds only, denying Leblon in a exciting dual from the last hurdle.

There was another thrilling finish to the handicap chase where the Davy Russell-ridden Ihaventabob got up in the last stride to get the verdict in a photo-finish from Flying Johnny M back in second.

On the Flat yesterday, Pat Smullen continued to prove his determination for reclaiming his Champion Jockey crown by booting home a double instigated on Hallie's Comet in the fillies handicap for Dermot Weld before Seán óg Coulston was an impressive winner for trainer John Coleman.

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