Meade sweet on Dubh Arkle claims
Noel Meade expects recent Leopardstown winner Realt Dubh to put up another bold show when he returns to the track for Sunday's Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase.
The seven-year-old beat off a field that included Mikael D'Haguenet when winning the Bord na Mona With Nature Novice Chase over the course and distance last month.
"He's in good form and I've been very happy with him since Leopardstown," said Meade.
"He worked the other day and I was pleased with him. He certainly handled the drop in trip well over Christmas and he should run well again."
Willie Mullins saddles Flat Out and is keen to see how he gets on at a higher level before making plans for the spring festivals.
"He seems ready to run and seems in good form," said the champion trainer.
"He won nicely on his first start over fences. This is a step up for him and will tell us more about where he's going.
"It's coming a bit soon after his first run but he's a horse I think a good bit about.
"It's a hot race on Sunday and our horse will have to improve his jumping, but I'm hoping he will.
"He made the mistake at the last but it was his first chase and it was around Punchestown, which is a big track for a horse having his first run.
"That experience will be very good for him going to Leopardstown.
"Emmet (Mullins) rides him very well and knows him inside out," Mullins told At The Races.
Noble Prince chased home Realt Dubh over Christmas but his trainer Paul Nolan is hoping conditions may be more in his favour this weekend.
"He'd have an each-way shout. We were going to step him up in trip but we've decided to stick to two miles for the time being," said Nolan.
"Realt Dubh won very well the last day, so we have to improve, but I think it's worth another go.
"When the pace quickened he got caught out a bit, which surprised me, but he was more of a stayer on the Flat.
"That said, hopefully the ground will be a bit drier this weekend than it was over Christmas and our horse might just travel a bit sweeter on it."