Monksland back from a fall to line up for Clonmel Oil Chase

Outlander joins seven-strong field with Willie Mullins-trained Alelchi Inois highest rated

Noel Meade:  Has yet to decide if he will run Monksland in the Hennessy Gold Cup on Saturday week. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Noel Meade: Has yet to decide if he will run Monksland in the Hennessy Gold Cup on Saturday week. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

 

Noel Meade is hoping Monksland can get back on track from a fall on his latest start when he lines up for the Clonmel Oil Chase at the Co Tipperary course on Thursday.

There was still all to play for when the nine-year-old came down at the 13th fence in the JNWine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal, won by Valseur Lido, earlier this month.

None the worse for the tumble, Monksland has schooled well at home in the interim, persuading connections to return him to the fray.

Monksland still holds an entry in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday week and Meade will reassess plans following this test.

“He’s been fine since he fell and he has schooled well twice since,” said the Co Meath handler, who won this race for a third time when Road To Riches was successful 12 months ago.

“It was just a suitable race. We’re still tossing it up here whether we might have a go at the Hennessy with him or not, but it would be hard to run him in that off a fall.

“We’re going to run and we’ll see what plans we’ll make after that.”

Outlander, who defeated Monksland at Leopardstown in February, reopposes and is accompanied by his Gordon Elliott-trained stablemate Clarcam.

Seven-strong field

Alelchi Inois, last seen finishing third in a Grade One in Italy in September, is the highest-rated horse in the line-up, but Mullins is wary of conditions becoming too demanding.

He said: “Alelchi Inois is fit and well but if the rain arrives it would really affect his chance.”

Jessica Harrington has decided to let the classy Rock On The Moor make her debut over fences in the EBF TA Morris Memorial Mares Chase at Clonmel on Thursday.

Second to Vroum Vroum Mag in the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, the eight-year-old starts her new career at Grade Three level.

“I’m out of the country at present but I’ve been told that she has been in very good form at home,” said Harrington. “Her schooling has gone well and we’re looking forward to it.

“I prefer to start them off in a small field first time over fences, so while it’s a Grade Three, she’s better off starting there than in a beginners’ chase with a big field.”

In contrast, Westerner Lady has plenty of experience over larger obstacles.

Unbeaten run

If anything, though, she produced a career-best effort when finishing second to Alpha Des Obeaux, who had chased home Thistlecrack in the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Willie Mullins said: “Westerner Lady had a hard race the last day.

“A reproduction of her run the last day would give her a great chance.”

Strictly on ratings, it looks between those two, but Presenting Mahler and Vicky’s Charm will be there to take advantage of any slip-ups from the market leaders, with Hello Sweetie and Thanks For Tea also running.

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