Meade in no rush with Pandorama

Noel Meade is waiting for soft ground before thinking of returning Pandorama to the track.

Noel Meade is waiting for soft ground before thinking of returning Pandorama to the track.

Last season’s impressive Lexus Chase winner has not been seen since being a well-beaten seventh behind Long Run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on unsuitably fast ground.

Meade said: “We’re taking him along steady and hoping he’s going to be all right.

“He’s started training again and everything has been OK with him so far, but my fingers are crossed with him. I don’t want to take any chances too early so I’m taking him along very steadily.

“We’ll be waiting for soft ground as he’s a big, heavy horse that does need those conditions.

“He’s a very decent horse. He showed that in the race in Leopardstown. In the Lexus he was very good. He’s an out-and-out three-mile horse.”

Meade is in a quandary over what distance to campaign his three-times Grade One winner Realt Dubh this season.

The seven-year-old’s victories at the top level have come over two miles and two and a half, but Meade is still uncertain what is the gelding’s optimum trip.

“I’m not quite sure exactly which way to go with him,” the County Meath trainer told At The Races.

“He won three Grade Ones last year, two over two miles and one over two and a half.

“We always thought two and a half miles would suit him well and he’d even stay three, but he got beat in Fairyhouse in the Drinmore.

“I was very disappointed with him that day and brought him back to two miles and he went and won two very good chases.

“He got put in his place in the Arkle and again by the same horse (Captain Chris) in Punchestown.

“I suppose the Durkan Chase over two and a half is one we should think about.

“He’s three-quarters fit at the moment. I’ve not rushed him, I’ve just taken him along and he’s in very good form.

“We’ll just have to see how the season progresses. On his pedigree you wouldn’t rule out him staying three miles but on his form, even over hurdles, it doesn’t appear he does stay.

“We ran him in the two-mile-five Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham (in 2009) and he finished seventh. We made the mistake of running him over too far that year. We’ll just have to see.”

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