Paul Carberry: has two solid chances on ThursdayPICTURE: Martin Lynch
Monksland a factor in World Hurdle - Carberry
PAUL CARBERRY has warned Ladbrokes World Hurdle punters not to discount Monksland in the most open looking championship race at the Cheltenham Festival.
A total of 22 horses remained engaged for the day three feature with leading fancies Zarkandar, Saphir Du Rheu and Rock On Ruby joined by Annie Power, who has the alternative option of the OLBG.com Mares' Hurdle, as the confirmations were revealed on Friday.
Monksland, who finished third behind Simonsig in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle three years ago, is one of a number of interesting double-figure contenders after returning to action with two starts this season following a two-year injury layoff.
“The testing conditions at Gowran Park didn’t suit him when he lost out by a short head in the Galmoy Hurdle in January and the likelihood of better ground will be a definite plus,” Carberry said.
“He’s in very good form and when everything is right he’s a really good horse and I give him a good chance in what looks a very open race.”
Monksland’s Noel Meade-trained stablemate Apache Stronghold, Carberry’s other main festival fancy, featured among 16 confirmations for the JLT Novices' Chase.
Only Vautour and Ptit Zig are shorter prices than the seven-year-old and Carberry is oozing confidence.
“He’s very good and the 2m4f trip will suit him well,” the jockey said. “He’s a class horse and a good jumper. He’s got speed but not enough to be taking on Un De Sceaux in the Arkle, so the JLT looks the right race for him.”
As expected Foxrock was supplement for the Ryanair Chase - Thursday’s remaining Grade 1 - at a cost of £15,000 taking the number of six-day possibles to 19.
Fellow Irish raider Don Cossack tops the market at 7-2, with Ma Filleule (11-2) and Balder Succes (13-2) leading the opposition.
Last year's festival winner Taquin Du Seuil looks set to contest the Ryanair after being removed from the Brown Advisory & Merribelle Stable Plate.