Carberry weaves his magic on Monksland


RACING:Ruby Walsh got the lion’s share of the big-race plaudits at Leopardstown yesterday but Paul Carberry proved the skills that give him a unique status even amongst the current crop of Irish jockeys remain very much intact with his own vintage display on Monksland.

Articulating what he does has never been the near-39-year-old former champion’s strong point but Noel Meade was effusive in praise of his long-time number one rider after Monksland beat Walsh on the favourite Zaidpour in the Grade Two Woodies Christmas Hurdle.

“A magic jockey”

“That was a super ride. He’s just a magic jockey. He does the sort of things other jockeys don’t,” said Meade after Monksland’s final thrust nailed Zaidpour to the tune of two and a half lengths at the end of the three mile slog.

That was enough for the sponsors to halve the winner to 8 to 1 for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March which has a wide-open appearance after the legendary Big Buck’s was sidelined through injury.

And having Carberry on his back will be a plus to Monksland as it is often what he doesn’t do as what he does that counts.

“The horse wasn’t travelling on the bad ground so Paul sat up, gave him 50 yards of a break and gave him a chance to get a breather,” Meade added. “It takes a lot balls to do that. Sometimes it doesn’t work and people ask ‘what was he at.’ But he was brilliant there.”

Zaidpour could also be a World Hurdle contender despite yesterday’s defeat and trainer Willie Mullins said: “Going after the leader (Whatuthink) might have cost him. But he’s run well.”

The Ted Walsh-trained Foxrock was expected to play a major role in the opening maiden hurdle – just not the one that transpired.

Persistent irritant

Ruby Walsh exited the 5 to 4 favourite when colliding with another horse at the very first obstacle and the loose Foxrock then appeared determined to erratically tour the area he’s named after. He proved a persistent irritant to the pace-setting Sizing Solution and when the joint-second favourite Mala Beach attempted an ambitious run up Foxrock’s inside on the turn-in, he crashed through the rail depositing Davy Condon to the ground.

That left Thunder and Roses and Talbot Road to fight out the finish with the latter emerging best and receiving significant praise from his trainer Arthur Moore.

“He’s the best young horse we’ve had for a while. He’s our big hope for the future,” the veteran trainer said. “I know the two favourites were knocked out, but it was still a good performance. He’s only a baby. He’s a chaser for the future.”

Andrew McNamara was out of luck in the Lexus aboard Hidden Cyclone but he carried the same colours to success in the handicap hurdle when Flying Light edged out the topweight Grange by a neck.