Monksland earns return to Grade 1 company

Classy nine-year-old Monksland earned a return to Grade 1 company when outpointing front-running favourite Marinero in the Ryans Cleaning Chase, middle leg of a superb treble for Noel Meade, in Galway yesterday.
Monksland earns return to Grade 1 company

Monksland, a drifter from odds-on to 6/5 in the face of sustained support for Marinero, collared David Mullins’ mount after a great battle and prevailed by a head to provide stable-jockey Sean Flanagan with the second leg of a double.

“I’m thrilled with him,” stated Meade.

“He’s only three-quarters ready and he’ll come on plenty for the run. I have to forgive him for giving me a kick in the stomach before the race – luckily there’s plenty of padding there!”

Meade continued: “He’ll be entered in the two races in the north (the Grade 1 Champion Chase and the Grade 2 Titanic Belfast Chase at Down Royal on November 5) and he might go for the three-miler.”

Le Martalin, a wide-margin bumper winner at Listowel before being bought by Gigginstown House Stud, initiated the Meade treble when powering up the hill to land the opening Mervue Maiden Hurdle, slamming Chasing Yesterday by seventeen lengths.

“He’s been doing everything right at home, so I thought he’d win,” admitted Meade.

“He’d prefer softer ground but won well. He’s big and has great scope. We’ll stick to two miles for now. I can see him being a great chaser in time.”

Monksland is owned by Mrs Patrician Hunt, whose colours were also carried to success when Nina Carberry galvanised the once-raced Moulin A Vent to justify 7/4 favouritism, confirm Punchestown form with market rival Brelade and complete the treble for Tu Va Stables in the bumper, the Jamie Kyne Memorial Flat Race.

Meade enthused: “It’s been a good day and this is a good young horse. Softer ground would suit him better. He jumps well and will go hurdling straight away.”

Gordon Elliott introduced his Coral Cup winner Diamond King to chasing in the Beginners Chase. And, under a confident ride by Davy Russell, he produced an impressive display, jumping well before outclassing his rivals.

A market drifter, despite starting at 4/5, Diamond King jumped very well and forged clear on the long run-in to beat Lucky Pat easily by fourteen lengths.

Elliott explained: “I was anxious to get him started before Davy’s suspension kicks in. I thought he was very good –he jumped class.

“He’ll come on for the run as he’s not fit and we’ll give him a racecourse school before going for the Drinmore (at Fairyhouse on December 4). He’s not a heavy ground horse, so he might miss the middle of the season and come back in the spring for the festivals.”

Third in the 2014 Cheltenham Bumper but disappointing since, the Eddie Harty-trained Joshua Lane belatedly registered his first career success when proving a shock winner of the Galway City & Salthill Publicans Rated Novice Hurdle.

The 25/1 shot, ridden by Mark Walsh and wearing a tongue-tie for the first time, spear-headed a one-two for owner J P McManus, foiling uneasy 7/4 favourite Aspen Colorado, which was never travelling sweetly for Barry Geraghty, by a length and three-quarters.

Winning trainer Harty explained: “It’s hard to believe he’s taken so long to win a race. But he runs well fresh and was good today. This was a nice race for him, a 0-123 for novices – if he was running off that mark in a handicap, the result might have been different. I’ll talk to Frank (Berry) about where he might go next.

The McManus colours were back in the winner’s enclosure half an hour later, when All The Answers, representing the Aspen Colorado combination of Joseph O’Brien and Barry Geraghty, defied top-weight, on his handicap debut, in the Galway City & Salthill Publicans Charity Handicap Hurdle, sweeping past front-runner Fluspar on the run-in to triumph by a length and a quarter.

Having ridden his first winner on home soil since returning from a lengthy injury, Geraghty stated: “I thought he’d win going to the last, but he had a bit of work to do after it and, in fairness, battled well. He wasn’t as quick as you’d like over the last two, but it was a fair effort in his first handicap.”

In-form Denis Hogan was on the mark again when Eiri Na Casca, ridden by his trainer, got up close home to beat the flattering, locally-trained top-weight Bashful Beauty in the Guinness Handicap Hurdle.

  • Two jockeys received whip bans, Denis Hogan (three days) for his handling of the winner Eiri Na Casca in the handicap chase and David Mullins (one day) for Marinero in the Ryans Cleaning Chase

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