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Stronghold may try Arkle to answer questions over distance

Noel Meade is considering a tilt at the Irish Arkle with Apache Stronghold (pictured) after he finished second at Grade One level for a third time in the Topaz Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Monday.

Having previously chased home Valseur Lido in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in November, the seven-year-old found Don Poli too strong on his first start over three miles.

Meade is unsure whether Apache Stronghold got home over the longer trip and he could come back to around two miles at Leopardstown on January 25.

"As much as I was delighted with Road To Riches (winner of Lexus Chase), I was as much disappointed that Apache Stronghold didn't win," said the County Meath handler.

"Paul (Carberry) said that he jumped well and he didn't find as much as we thought he would after the last.

"I'm not sure whether he didn't stay or whether the winner just outstayed him.

"I'm tossing in my mind at the moment whether to bring him back for the Arkle at Leopardstown.

"That would answer a lot of questions, distance wise.

"We've done a number of tests on him after the race and everything was clear."

Another member of Meade's string to perform well over the Festive period was Monksland.

Sidelined by injury since winning the Christmas Hurdle in 2012, he ran a fantastic race to finish third in the same race.

Meade said: "I was very happy with him and he'll probably go for the race in Gowran, the Galmoy Hurdle. He's come out of the Leopardstown race well. He doesn't really like soft ground, but it does bring his stamina into play."