Sport Horse Racing

Friday 6 December 2019

Meade ponders tilt at National with Pandorama

Richard Forristal

Pandorama, winner of the 2010 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, is being considered for a tilt at the Aintree Grand National in April.

Noel Meade's charge returned to action in the latest edition of the Leopardstown Grade One last month, his first outing since suffering a tendon injury when pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2011.

The 10-year-old failed to make any impact back at the Foxrock venue, but it subsequently emerged he had pulled muscles in his hindquarters and he holds an entry for the Hennessy Gold Cup back there in 10 days.

"He might run in the Hennessy, but, at the moment, I'd say it's unlikely as it might just come a bit too soon," Meade revealed of his four-time Grade One winner. "It's more likely that he'll run in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse (Feb 23) and I've given him an entry in the National. Whether he'll run in that or not I don't know at the moment. We'll see how he gets on next time."

Meade issued an upbeat bulletin on Monksland, as low as 6/1 for World Hurdle glory at Cheltenham in March, though he was rueful that Paul Carberry didn't hold onto Il Fenonmeno for a more customary late run in Saturday's

"He would probably have run better if he'd been held up, but we'll forget about it now and move on," Meade said of the seven-year-old, which raced handily in first-time blinkers and led after the third-last before tiring into fifth in the heavy ground.

"He'll go for another one of those handicaps. He's in the race in Newbury (Betfair Hurdle, February 9), but I don't think he'll go there as it might just come a bit too soon. He could possibly run in the County Hurdle."

The Co Meath handler reported his promising novice hurdler Ned Buntline could run at Punchestown on Sunday, with Gordon Elliott's smart Don Cossack also among the 12 entries for the Grade Two novice hurdle there.

Just six horses have been given the option of tackling Sizing Europe in the featured Tied Cottage Chase, all of which are rated at least a stone and a half inferior to Henry de Bromhead's star.

With tomorrow's card at Thurles, so often immune to Irish rainfall, cancelled, this weekend's fixtures at Fairyhouse and Punchestown could struggle. Officials are due to inspect the track at Fairyhouse tomorrow and general manager Peter Roe admits the course will "need a bit of luck." The lost Thurles fixture will now take place as part of a revised two-day spread on February 13 and 14.

l Six-time Group One-winning mare Midday has given birth to her first foal – by Galileo – at Juddmonte Farms' Banstead Manor Stud. Henry Cecil's former mare will form part of Frankel's stellar first book for 2013.

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