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Monks set for Memorial mission

NOEL MEADE'S Monksland is likely to take his chance in the Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on April 27.

The five-year-old lost his unbeaten record when third behind Simonsig in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at last month's Cheltenham Festival, but his trainer has been pleased with his charge since. Meade said: "It has been so far so good with him since Cheltenham.

"He looked a bit unlucky there. Everything seemed to go against him, but the winner won very easy and maybe we wouldn't have beaten him, however we think we could have been a lot closer.

"He handled the good ground at Cheltenham all right, but I wouldn't like to run him on fast ground."

A total of 35 entries have been received, with the likes of Boston Bob, Felix Yonger and Alderwood all major players for the home team.

There are six entries trained in Britain, including the unbeaten Fingal Bay from Philip Hobbs' stable and Tap Night, an impressive Grade Two winner at Kelso on his latest start for Scottish-based trainer Lucinda Russell.

Russell said: "Tap Night will either run in the Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle over two and a half miles or the Irish Daily Mirror War Of Attrition Novice Hurdle over three miles.

"He has been in really good form since Kelso.

"We decided to keep him fresh for Aintree and Punchestown."