Monksland stays on stoutly in the Christmas Hurdle
©Healy Racing Photos
By Michael Graham
Monksland came from eighth rounding the home bend to land the Grade 2 Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown as the pace set by front-runner Whatuthink set up the race for a closer.
He stayed on best from the last to beat 11/8 favourite Zaidpour by two and a half lengths. So Young stayed on nicely from mid division to take third at 8/1. The winner touched 80/1 in running. His SP though was 11/4 from 7/2 in the ring.
The 33/1 outsider Whatuthink, who was well clear in front, faded but grabbed fourth.
“It can rain all it like now! I did a lot of shouting. I thought five out he was gone but then I thought he was getting in to it at two out. He stuck to the inside and it worked out. I left it to Paul. He waits on a horse as he has a theory if horses are going too fast. He gave him a super ride,” trainer Noel Meade said.
“The World Hurdle is open enough now, but we’ll live for today. He’s a very young horse, he’s only five and he’s very easy to train. He had a hard race today and might not run before Cheltenham.”
Jockey Paul Carberry added: “He wasn’t mad about the ground. It’s a bit sticky. He was struggling on it so I sat up on him a bit and he got a second wind and did very well to get up. He’s a class horse. That’s the worst the ground has been all week, very gluey.”
Willie Mullins trainer of runner-up Zaidpour and third-placed So Young said: "They both ran crackers. It was So Young's best run yet.
"Zaidpour went after the one in front (Whatuthink) and that might have cost him the race, but he was beaten by a good horse."
(Additional reporting by Gary Carson)