It's Festival time so get ready for pleasure, profit and pain

Love and money, those timeless twin motivators, will be in equal evidence at jump racing's greatest extravaganza. Starting on Tuesday, the first of four days, the Cheltenham Festival will have £5.75 million in prize money on offer for 26 races and more than £500m wagered across the nation on their outcome.

The meeting is the classic combo of business and pleasure. For the professionals – the trainers, the jockeys, the stable staff – it's four days at the office, the £145.45 a ride plus the 10 per cent, albeit of more than usual, to the successful. For those behind the scenes – the breeder, say, with a young horse to sell who might just be a half-brother to a Cheltenham winner – there is the prospect of lucrative future trading.

For the owner and racegoer it's the pinnacle of the season's fun; for many just being there is enough, never mind any success. But for anyone who does welcome a winner into that hallowed enclosure – from someone like Ryan-air's boss, Michael O'Leary, who writes off more than £1m a year to keep his string on the road, to the once-a-year punter who's invested £2 on the Tote – there's only one way of counting the value. Priceless.

Even those who earn their living from the industry will concede that. But the extra cash, courtesy of assorted bookmakers, starts flowing from day one. If the £75,000 bonus offered to yesterday's Paddy Power Imperial Cup winner, Qaspal, should he score again this week seems generous, it's as nothing alongside the WBX £1m that Go Native will earn if he adds Tuesday's Champion Hurdle to his Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdles.

Go Native is trained in Co Meath by Noel Meade, the seven-times Irish champion who has held a licence for 38 of his 59 years and has been, done, and seen more than most in his sport. But his score at the Festival stands at only three, and none of those in one of the week's flagship contests, a record he would dearly like to rectify. His 15 per cent of the bonus pot would not be life-changing but would be infinitely satisfying professionally.

The six-year-old, due to be ridden by Paul Carberry, is favourite to take the glittering prize in a highly competitive field that includes his compatriot Solwhit, given the all-clear to travel to Cheltenham yesterday after a health scare. The home defence is led by last year's winner, Punjabi, and his two stablemates Binocular and Zaynar, plus Medermit and Khyber Kim, the last-named himself due £200,000 extra if he follows his Boylesports Hurdle with the crown.

Perhaps the Champion Hurdle owes Meade, whose talented but enigmatic charge Harchibald was repelled by Hardy Eustace five years ago. Like Go Native, Harchibald went to Cheltenham via victories in Britain's other two Grade One two-mile hurdle contests, but that was before the bonus for the clean sweep – last completed 20 years ago by Kribensis – was introduced.

And perhaps, too, it owes the man to whom the jackpot would arguably mean most. Most of it would go to Go Native's owners, a fairly well-heeled Irish syndicate, but a tenth of it is earmarked for the gelding's lad, Alan McElroy, whose previous best horse in his time working for Meade was none other than Harchibald.

The opening day's feature is the most competitive of the four top Grade One titles. Last year's winners of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the World Hurdle and the Gold Cup – Master Minded, Big Buck's and Kauto Star – are all odds-on for repeat victories. Their stable, that of Paul Nicholls, warmed up with a Ruby Walsh-ridden treble at Sandown yesterday.

And, although glory is all very well, there are some in that camp who may not allow it to impinge on a hard-headed view of making a living. The much-hyped showdown between Kauto Star, who carries Clive Smith's colours, and his yardmate Denman on Friday has been somewhat emasculated by the assertion by the latter's part-owner, the professional punter Harry Findlay, he would likely be backing the defending champion.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Qaspal, who landed a considerable gamble at 11-4 yesterday with Tony McCoy paring down to his lightest weight, is now favourite for both his Cheltenham engagements, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle and the County Hurdle, though he may not make the cut for either.

His job may already have been done, though. The six-year-old carries the colours of the most fearless winning high-roller of them all, JP McManus, who can now, presumably, start the week betting with bookmakers' money. Business and pleasure, absolutely.

A value bet a day

Tuesday Champion Hurdle (3.20): Given a strong pace, last year's runner-up CELESTIAL HALO, freshened by a break and perked up by blinkers, can once again get himself right in the mix. Current best price: 12-1.

Wednesday NH Challenge Cup (1.30): Point-to-point and hurdles winner FABALU has shown steady improvement over fences and shapes as though stamina for marathon distances will be his forte. Current best price: 16-1.

Thursday Pertemps Final (2.05): Having given a glimpse of his class at Aintree last year, AINAMA showed his liking for a step up to three miles at Newbury in November and remains on a manageable mark. Current best price: 10-1.

Friday Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (2.40): FIONNEGAS is progressing rapidly with time and distance and although beaten the last two times out, the form of both defeats (most recently behind Dunguib) is rock-solid. Current best price: 16-1.

Sue Montgomery

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower