Noel Meade has been dealt a blow with the news smart chaser Apache Stronghold will miss the whole season after having a tendon fired.

A top-class novice chaser in the 2014-15 season, he won the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown and was second in three other Grade Ones over fences, including in the JLT at Cheltenham.

A tendon injury kept him off the track for the whole of last season and the same problem will see him sidelined for the upcoming campaign, too.

"Apache had a little problem with a suspensory last year," said Meade.

"We kept minding it and doing this, that and the other. We kept thinking we'd get him back, but we didn't.

"This year, we started off with him and we're back where we were with him last year, but he's started to feel it (the tendon) again.

"I took the bull by the horns the other day and we fired it. We should have done that last year instead of thinking I was going to get him back.

"He's going to miss the whole season, which is a pity, but that's the way it goes."

Meade had better news of Monksland, owned, like Apache Stronghold, by Patricia Hunt.

The nine-year-old is set to head to Down Royal's big meeting next month but for which race has still be be decided.

"Monksland is grand, he really is. He swam for a week and now he's back again," Meade told At The Races.

"He'll go to the north (Down Royal) now. He'll have an entry in the two-and-a-half race (Grade Two Titanic Belfast Chase) and the three-mile race ( Champion Chase).

"It's quite possible he'll run over three. We'll see what's in it and see what happens."