Meade delight as Monksland makes winning debut over fences
Monksland made an ideal start over fences as he lifted the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Beginners Chase at Gowran Park.
A three-time Grade Two winner over hurdles, Monksland warmed up for this assignment by chasing home Arctic Fire in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan earlier this month.
Noel Meade's charge was sent off a 5-2 chance in the hands of Sean Flanagan and he assumed control at the top of the straight, always looking as though he had the beating of favourite Roi Des Francs.
Monksland eventually came home a length and a half clear, much to the delight of Meade.
He said: "We said we'd take our chance over fences and see how it goes and if it didn't work out we could go back to hurdling.
"His schooling went great and he has spent half his time swimming as well. When he jumped he jumped well.
"We thought with the Grade One at Christmas he might struggle but if he took to jumping fences you wouldn't know where he could go.
"You'd have to be happy with his first run over fences. He did run in a point-to-point but that was his first chase.
"He was good other than the second-last first time when Sean did well to stay with him.
"That's his first winner for me and I'm delighted for him. I've been very pleased with what he's been doing. He has great hands and horses jump great for him.
"He comes in to ride a couple of mornings and does a lot of schooling. He's a really nice lad too."