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Meade reveals Pando concerns

Noel Meade is more worried about Pandorama's limited experience over fences than the lack of a recent run heading into the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup next week.

The eight-year-old has won nine of his 11 races under Rules, with his only defeats coming behind Mikael D'Haguenet over hurdles and when he pulled up in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November.

He returned from that setback to win the Lexus Chase in fine style but was forced to miss the Irish Hennessy, meaning he has only completed four times over the bigger obstacles.

"I don't think the lack of a run is going to be a problem, other than the fact it would have been more experience," Meade told At The Races.

"He is very inexperienced. He's won his four races and also had the trip over for the Hennessy where he was pulled up after a mile so that's the one worry I have, especially round Cheltenham.

"If we get good to soft ground that will be OK but what we don't want is the sun to come out with a drying wind because it can dry quickly there. I think it should be fine, but there is nothing we can do about it.

"I was pleased with his gallop at Leopardstown, he worked with two good horses and worked really well. Paul (Carberry) was delighted with him and said he gave him a great feel. We schooled him on Wednesday. He jumped five fences three times and was really good. I'm really happy with where he is at the moment."

Mouse Morris feels China Rock is over-priced for the Gold Cup. Fourth in the Irish Hennessy when sent to the front a long way from home under Paul Carberry, he will have Barry Geraghty back in the saddle next week.

"He's in very good form," said Morris. "He did very to still finish fourth as he'd only been back in work about four weeks. He loves good ground, faster the better, and he's run well the last two years there in the Neptune and the Jewson.

"I think his price is unbelievable given that he was four lengths behind Kauto Star at Down Royal on ground he hated."


From Belfast Telegraph