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Monksland: Leop 28.12.12

Monksland showcases World Hurdle claims

Report: Leopardstown, Friday Christmas Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m, 4yo+

MONKSLAND was halved in price for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after making his first start over 3m a winning one in Friday's Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Third to the classy Simonsig in last season's Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, Monksland held off the Willie Mullins-trained pair of Zaidpour and So Young and is 8-1 (from 16) with Paddy Power, Boylesports and William Hill for the World Hurdle.

The winner - tipped by Pricewise in Friday's Racing Post - was sent off at 11-4 and was given a typically patient ride by Paul Carberry as outsider Whatuthink set off in front.

Whatuthink maintained a big lead entering the home straight but looked vulnerable and folded as Monksland nipped up the inner to defeat 11-8 favourite Zaidpour by two and a half lengths.

Noel Meade, who trains the promising five-year-old for Patricia Hunt, paid tribute to Carberry's skills in the saddle.

"He wasn't travelling down the back in that ground so Paul sat up on him and gave him a breather," said Meade.

"He had already decided going out the ground was just as bad everywhere and stuck on the inside.

"Because he gave him that breather he was able to stay through the ground - Paul's a magic rider."

Betfred are 7-1 about Monksland for the World Hurdle, which will be run without four-time winner Big Buck's who has been ruled out for the season with injury.

"Monksland is only five," added Meade. "He stays three miles so now Big Buck's is out the World Hurdle looks more open. He'll get an entry in that race, but that was a hard race there so he might not run again until Cheltenham."

Voler La Vedette, second to Big Buck's in the World Hurdle in March, was fifth, while two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Weapon's Amnesty, having his first run for 1017 days, was pulled up.

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