Iktitaf ruled out of Cheltenham

 

Racing: Mounthenry sprung a minor surprise when beating odds-on favourite Iktitaf in the Byrne Group plc Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

Iktitaf was later ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival by trainer Noel Meade after suffering an injury during the race.

The five-year-old sustained a cut to his leg which is likely to require 10 to 12 stitches. The injury means he will definitely miss the Festival and connections are unsure as to whether he will run again this season.

The Charles Byrnes-trained winner was sent off a 3-1 shot after he had finished third behind Iktitaf in a Grade One event at Fairyhouse in December.

However, a 7lb pull in the weights and a positive ride from Andrew McNamara helped the six-year-old claim the Grade Two prize by one and a half lengths.

Having made most of the running, McNamara quickened up down the back straight to steal a couple of lengths and Iktitaf could not find any extra on the run-in. Smart Flat performers Tolpuddle and Sublimity failed to land a blow and were well out of the frame.