Horses To Follow » Monksland


Monksland made a very pleasing return to action in the Grade 2 WKD Hurdle over two miles at Down Royal on Friday, and looks very much a horse on which to keep on the right side this year.

Noel Meade’s gelding settled well under Paul Carberry in the six-strong field, he made a slight mistake at the fourth hurdle, hitting the top of it and losing a bit of ground, but he travelled strongly in fifth, he moved through smoothly between horses on the run to the third last and came there on the outside of Miley Shah and One Cool Shabra on the turn into the home straight. He went on over the second last, with Joxer, who had been held up last of all, emerging as the danger, and when Monksland flattened the last flight, Joxer laid down a strong challenge. Having crashed through the last and landed awkwardly, Monksland looked potentially vulnerable, but Carberry only had to shake him up briefly for him to pull out more and go on to win by a couple of lengths.

It was really likeable how, once Joxer had got to his girths, Monksland responded when Carberry shook the reins at him. That suggests he had plenty left to give if more had been required. This was his first run since finishing third to Simonsig in the Neptune Hurdle last season, so he is entitled to be much sharper for the run, and this was a performance that promised much more. He is still really lightly raced, he is still only five, and he could be a big player in the top hurdle races this term. A strongly-run two miles could be his optimum, and it is no disadvantage that he stays two and a half miles.

2nd November 2012