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Last Updated: 08/01/12 2:34pm
Noel Meade: Target now the Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham
Monksland took a step up in class in his stride with a facile success in the Grade Two Slaney Novice Hurdle at Naas on Sunday.
With Dedigout the hot favourite, Monksland was sent off at 6-1 in the hands of Paul Carberry, but was always travelling ominously well.
Dedigout took over the lead going well at the top of the home straight, but had no answer when Monksland swept by and he was able to ease down at the finish to score by four and a half lengths.
Sky Bet introduced the winner at 16-1 for the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March although Paddy Power were less impressed and offer 25s.
Meade said: "He was a difficult horse to break when Willie Slattery had him and when we had him first he wasn't straightforward, but he's fine now.
"That went exactly to plan. I thought he'd win to be honest, as he is very good. He was involved in a serious piece of work at Fairyhouse where he finished second to Bog Warrior and I think he had a bit up his sleeve.
"He has done everything right since and jumps well. He is good enough for Cheltenham and he will go there for the two-and-a-half-mile hurdle (Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle).
"I'm not sure whether he will run before that as he is easy to get fit. He worked well on Tuesday morning on soft ground and should handle better ground.
"He had earplugs in as he used to be very nervous but he has relaxed and never turned a hair today."