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By Nick Robson, Press Association Sport. Last Updated: 20/01/10 3:49pm
Go Native - shocked his rivals.
Go Native returned to Grade One-winning form in the best possible manner by bursting some big reputations in the WBX.COM 'Fighting Fifth' Hurdle at Newcastle.
Noel Meade's six-year-old had won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle last March but came into the race with plenty to prove having been put in his place by Voler La Vedette at Down Royal last time.
The race was supposed to revolve around Nicky Henderson's Binocular and Charles Byrnes' Solwhit, both towards the head of the betting for the Champion Hurdle in March.
Pre-race fears about a lack of pace unfortunately came true as Blue Bajan took them through the first mile at a sedate gallop but gradually wound things up.
Champion jockey Tony McCoy was content to sit pretty handy on Binocular and all looked to be going to plan turning into the straight for JP McManus' pride and joy.
However, on the approach the the second-last McCoy was one of the first to ask for an effort and the response was disappointing - and just off his shoulder Davy Condon was absolutely cantering on Go Native.
Sublimity hit the front under Philip Carberry at the last but Go Native picked him up easily to win by two and a half lengths to spring a 25-1 surprise.
Condon said: "It's always tougher for a novice coming on from last season and taking on the big boys.
"I thought he was up against it, especially with Solwhit who was impressive the last day.
"The slow pace suited him early - he has loads of gears. He picked them up really well and loved the ground.
"I couldn't believe how well he was going on the way to the last. He quickened away and is a real classy horse."
Meade was represented by stable jockey Paul Carberry, who is currently serving a 30-day suspension.
He said: "It wasn't a surprise to me. It looked tough on paper, but we know how good he is.
"Last time it was very soft and Noel thinks he probably left him a bit short.
"He'll go to the Christmas Hurdle now (at Kempton) and then the Champion. A fast gallop suits him. He's got loads of gears."
Meade was at Fairyhouse, where he had a treble.
He added: "I'm delighted. I sent Paul over with some instructions and he said Davy carried them out to the letter.
"The better ground suited him and we knew we had a fair horse on our hands but the ground was too bad last time and I left him undercooked.
"They will probably make excuses for the others but we know how good he is.
"We'll have to go for the second leg (of the WBX £1million bonus) now - if it happens, great, if it doesn't it doesn't.
"Kempton should suit him - a nice flat, quick track.
"To be honest I thought the slow gallop would suit the others more than us as what he wants is a flat-out gallop."
McCoy could offer up no excuses for Binocular, who remains 5-1 co-favourite for the Champion Hurdle with William Hill.
"He was disappointing, that's all there is to it," he said.
Henderson offered a little more insight: "I've not spoken to AP (McCoy) yet, but it looked a messy race and there was no pace on early.
"We always thought today was a day he might get beat and we thought this race might get us into trouble.
"I talked with AP last night and we had no idea how the race was going to work out and where the pace was going to come from.
"I think a good gallop suits him best of all which is why I think Cheltenham suits him and he looked very good last year off a good gallop in the Boylesports race at Ascot."
Owner JP McManus added: "He wasn't good enough. The slow pace would not have suited him, but it's the same for all of them. They picked up and he didn't."
Robbie Hennessy was thrilled with Sublimity who stuck on well for second with Solwhit third.
""He's run another blinder. He's still got a lot of ability and I'm happy with him."