Belfast Telegraph

Native prevails in Christmas cracker

Go Native kept the dreams of a £1million bonus alive with a narrow victory over Starluck in the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Having won the first leg of the WBX.COM Triple Crown at Newcastle in the Fighting Fifth, Noel Meade's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner confirmed that form by beating Binocular yet again.

Sent off the 5-2 second-favourite, Davy Condon was going almost too well at the last where a fantastic leap saw him take up the running. He shot clear but he began to pull himself up on the run-in, allowing Starluck and Timmy Murphy to close to within a short head.

Go Native is 6-1 from 10s for the Champion Hurdle with William Hill and Condon said: "If Noel Meade is watching I apologise! I was there a bit soon. In fairness he stuck his neck out when other horse came to him and I'd say he'll definitely take all the beating at Cheltenham."

Paul Carberry, representing Meade, added: "We were worried about the ground, but he travelled great and jumped super. He's got loads of gears and was probably just in front a bit too soon. We're very happy with him. He would definitely be suited by better ground and a better gallop.

"I'm not sure what Noel will do, if it dried up in Ireland I suppose he could run in the Irish Champion Hurdle but the main thing is to get him spot on for the big one."

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