Meade expecting big improvement from Down Royal contender
Noel Meade's Monksland is all set for next weekend's JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal, and the trainer expects a massive improvement from his reappearance win at Galway this month.
Monksland won by a head from the Henry de Bromhead-trained even-money favourite Marinero, with the pair pulling ten lengths clear of the third, and Meade said Monksland had only done one serious piece of work beforehand.
"I was very happy with him at Galway and that was a great way to start the season," said Meade of the injury-prone nine-year-old. "He was swimming all last week and we're going for next Saturday's JNwine.com Champion Chase with him next.
"Despite the fact he's a second-season chaser, I think the three miles at Down Royal will suit him better. He's like china, but touch wood he's in good shape and should improve loads for that Galway run as he'd only done one serious piece of work beforehand."
Meade also had an update on Road To Riches, third in the Gold Cup and Ryanair Chase at the last two Cheltenham Festivals and beaten by Ballycasey in the Grade 2 PWC Champion Chase at Gowran Park this month, after which Meade reported he needed an operation.
"He had an operation on a kissing spine and is recuperating at the moment. He's back walking and should be ready for Christmas when we'll be aiming him at the Lexus Chase.
"I'm hopeful we can get him back and I think he's still a force to be reckoned with in staying chases."