Lake likely for Ryanair bid

Watson Lake could run in the Ryanair Chase at next month's Cheltenham Festival rather than tackle the top two-milers in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Trainer Noel Meade is leaning towards the two-mile-five-furlong event after his eight-year-old finished fourth in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown last Sunday.

Meade was perfectly satisfied with that performance as he believes Watson Lake needed the outing after a spell on the sidelines and a troubled preparation.

"Watson Lake was short of work, it's as simple as that," said the handler.

"We couldn't really wait with him any longer though as it was getting closer and closer to Cheltenham.

"I was very happy with the way he came out of the race. He just got tired and Paul (Carberry) sensibly didn't knock him around when he was beat. He said he got very tired going to the last.

"I was pleased with him though. Turning in he was galloping all over Central House but the thing is he needs soft ground so that could decide what race he runs in at Cheltenham.

"Unless it comes up unusually soft, he will probably run in the Ryanair Chase over two miles and five furlongs."

Meade also had news of Iktitaf who cut his knee when finishing second to Mounthenry on the same card.

"I'm not quite sure how many stitches he has had but it's quite a few. He's got a big bandage on them to stop him bending his leg," said Meade.

"Cheltenham is definitely out and we won't know for a couple of weeks whether we can bring him back for something near the end of the season.

"He's got a very nasty gash right across the front of his knee and it looks as if someone has cut it with a knife.

"He hit the first hurdle down the back so he could have done it there on an upright.

"We thought he'd pick up a lot better than he did as he's a very smart horse so at least we know why he didn't."

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