Meade set to be double-handed in Hennessy
Noel Meade is planning to run both Wounded Warrior and Monksland in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury a fortnight on Saturday, the weights for which were revealed yesterday.
Monksland, which came to grief in the JNWine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal over the weekend, will carry a weight of 10st 7lb assuming Coneygree - which did a gallop at Haydock yesterday - makes his return in the race.
It may be Coneygree's second run since his 2015 Gold Cup win and that would mean Wounded Warrior would carry 2lb higher than his stablemate. "Monksland has come out of the weekend unscathed and there is every possibility he could go. He is 3lb higher in England; I think the weight is fine," Meade said.
Monksland has been plagued by injuries as a jumper and mistakes as a chaser, with Meade admitting: "Whether he runs or not will depend on how he schools in the meantime. He looked to be going nicely at Down Royal but the fences are there to be jumped and that has been his Achilles' heel. He is not a bad jumper and that is the first time he has fallen but he misses a fence every so often."
The ground-reliant and Gigginstown-owned Wounded Warrior was last seen in February's Irish Gold Cup. "He's a fine, big horse who stays really well," Meade said. "It would have been nice to get a run into him but, with the ground the way it is, we haven't been able. He wants a trip and the further they go the better. We will sit down with the owners and see what they want to do."
Silviniaco Conti (11st 10lb), last year's winner Smad Place (11st 8lb) and Charlie Hall winner Irish Cavalier (11st 2lb) are near the top of the weights. Colin Tizzard's Native River is ante-post favourite.