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Noel Meade looks forward with youngsters

Updated: Sunday, 11 May 2014 11:20 | Comments

Noel Meade eyes step up in class for Very Wood and Apache Stronghold
Noel Meade eyes step up in class for Very Wood and Apache Stronghold

Noel Meade could have an exciting crop of novice chasers to go to war with next season after confirming Very Wood and Apache Stronghold will both tackle the larger obstacles later in the year.

Very Wood claimed Cheltenham Festival glory in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle a couple of months ago, but was a slightly disappointing sixth in the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown last week.

Apache Stronghold, on the other hand, enhanced his reputation as he chased home the exciting Vautour in the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle.

With Punchestown faller Wounded Warrior another potentially smart recruit to the chasing ranks, Meade is hopeful the future is bright

He said: "They went no gallop in Very Wood's race at Punchestown and he was a bit fresh. He was just a bit keen and then found himself in a sprint after no gallop which is not his forte. Things just didn't work out for him, but he's come out of the race well.

"Apache has also come out of Punchestown well and my plan is that Very Wood, Wounded Warrior and Apache Stronghold will all go over fences next season.

"They will all enjoy their summer break now."

Meade also had news of Mullaghanoe River, who was still travelling well when tipping up five fences from home in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

The trainer said: "I was hoping to run him at Punchestown but just wasn't happy with him. He was travelling well in the National when he came down but his jumping has been a factor all year. It's let him down more than once but we still feel that he's a very useful horse.

"He'll have a summer break now and will start off in handicap chases next season and we'll see how far we get. It's quite possible that he may not want it too heavy.

"I thought he was the best chance I had of winning the Irish National for quite a while but it wasn't to be."

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