Three of a kind
Another sunny day at Cheltenham, where the going continues to improve, will have helped settle the nerves of the Docado Syndicate, who are on the brink of one of the biggest pay-days in Irish jumps racing this afternoon.
The Galway-based syndicate own million-dollar hopeful Go Native -- one of three Irish-trained favourites in the first four races, along with 'banker' Dunguib in the Supreme Novices and Captain Cee Bee in the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy.
Go Native's trainer Noel Meade and jockey Paul Carberry have the utmost faith in their stable star returning in triumph to the Cotswolds today. Apart from the tasty winner's purse in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, Go Native would snare a £1m bonus from betting exchange WBX if he wins.
The horse, which landed the festival opener 12 months ago, remains a rock-solid first market choice to bring off the most lucrative triumph in the sport since Ruby Walsh guided Kauto Star to Gold Cup glory here three years ago.
Galway businesswoman Kitty Carr shares Meade's stable star with Eamon Doyle -- with whom she co-owns the Park House Hotel -- and her sister and brother-in-law Maura and Sylvie Dowd as well as their children Tom and Ann Marie. The six of them could be forgiven if they watch the drama unfold with hearts pounding at 3.20.
No better man than the invariably cool, confident Carberry -- now 36 years of age and still smarting from former stablemate Harchibald's 2005 photo-finish defeat by compatriot Hardy Eustace -- for such a scenario.
Should their dream result materialise, the owners will have a £700,000 windfall; Meade would earn £150,000; groom Alan McElroy is in line for a £100,000 bonanza and there's another £50,000 for the rest of the yard's staff. That's a juicy carrot, all the more so since former champions Meade and Carberry have yet to hit the festival jackpot in such a flagship contest and that gap in their CVs still rankles.
Without the huge monetary incentive for such a win, nevertheless there's a small fortune also riding on the outcome of the opening Supreme Novices Hurdle that many people have already consigned to Dunguib's connections.
Celtic Bookmakers have already paid out to Dunguib's backers even though there are 17 other runners to contend with, including similar multiple winner Get Me Out Of Here. That horse's owner JP McManus, whose Binocular is back in the Champion Hurdle picture after an injury scare, can also call on Captain Cee Bee and the Cross-Country Chase specialist Garde Champetre to bolster fond hopes of another Tuesday session to remember for his fellow Irish, who witnessed nine of our raiders bringing home the bacon last year.