Meade blow as Apache Stronghold ruled out for season

Apache Stronghold: will miss this season due to suspensory ligament injury

PICTURE: Alain Barr ( Meade blow as Apache ruled out for season By Cathal Gahan 9:00AM 25 OCT 2016

NOEL MEADE and his longstanding owners Paul and Patricia Hunt were handed a bitter blow on Monday with news their crack staying chaser Apache Stronghold will miss another season due to a persistent suspensory ligament injury.

The eight-year-old son of Milan, considered a long-term Gold Cup prospect, had his coming of age when landing the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown in February 2015 under Paul Carberry.

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He later went on to finish runner-up behind Vautour in the JLT Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and was last seen finishing third to Valseur Lido in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown, but has been absent since and now faces another season lost to injury.

"It's very disappointing," said Meade. "We had a little problem with the suspensory ligament last season. The most disappointing thing was that we didn't go and attack it last year instead of waiting about. We had a lot of people looking at it last year and you try do the right thing for the horse and the owners. We've ended up missing two seasons now instead of one."

Good start to season

Meade has made a strong start to the campaign and enjoyed a good day on Saturday with a treble at Punchestown, including an eight-length victory by novice chaser Disko that earned him 20-1 quotes for the JLT at Cheltenham.

"Other than the mistake down the back you'd have to have been delighted with him," said Meade. "And, you never know, that mistake might have crowned him. We'll speak to the owners about where he'll go next."

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