Monksland gets back to winning ways in Thurles
Noel Meade’s 10-year-old stayer had to work hard to catch Polar Present
Trainer Noel Meade pictured with Monkland in December 2012. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Monksland pulled out all the stops to get back to winning ways in the He’llberemembered Hurdle at Thurles.
Noel Meade’s classy stayer was sent off the 8-11 favourite after finishing third in a charity race at Punchestown last week but Seán Flanagan had to get to work after the fourth-last, with Polar Present going great guns out in front.
Monksland responded to the pressure to touch down over the final flight in a share of the lead, and he eventually stamped his quality for a half-length call.
Meade said: “It was hard work and Seán said he never travelled at all and the ground was a bit quick for him.
“He has had plenty of problems over the years and when the ground is any way good, he was knocking the top off it and needs soft ground to be at his best.
“He is a 10-years-old now and has been around a while, and that is part of it too, but today was the plan.
“His pedigree is all stamina and he does stay three miles. I don’t know where he is going to go and you couldn’t say he is the horse he once was, but we’ll peg along and try and keep him sound and run him wherever he has a chance.
“I would say at some stage we could try him over fences in one of those big races like the Irish National. There might also be a conditions chase he could run in.
“We’ll see how the season goes along but every race we win with him is a bonus as he hasn’t been easy to keep sound.”