Meade’s Cheltenham Hopeful
For trainer Noel Meade, the Cheltenham Festival does not hold very fond memories. Over the last few years he has not enjoyed the victories and accomplishments he has been looking forward to, but it seems that he has finally found a horse that might just bring him unrivalled Cheltenham Festival success next year. On Sunday, 23 November 2008, Pandorama secured his fourth victory in four jumps racing starts and his display of ease and comfort makes winning look easy. Hardly looking tired from his race, Pandorama’s jockey had to work hard to slow down the massive engine of this seemingly unstoppable five year old.
Going up against three formidable competitors in the Monksfield Novice hurdle, a Grade Two event hosted at Navan, with the likes of Alpha Ridge in the lineup, Pandorama’s performance cannot be described as anything but spectacular. He did make a small mistake on the third last hurdle, but nothing could stop this jumps racing phenomenon from winning. Ridden by Paul Carberry, Pandorama literally flew around the course with magnificent speed and power that Alpha Ridge, trained by Paul Nolan and piloted by Alain Cawley, had no answer for. Pandorama won the race by a breathtaking twenty-six lengths.
Noel Meade was unsurprisingly extremely pleased with the victory and commented that the next start for Pandorama would be in the Barry & Sandra Kelly Memorial Novice Hurdle, after which he will be rested until next year. Not wanting to focus purely on the Cheltenham Festival, Meade did not talk much about his plans for Pandorama for 2009, even though many have mentioned that he would be the favorite for the Ballymore Properties Novice Hurdle. With Pandorama being a young horse and showing so much potential, it is believed that he has an amazing jumps racing career ahead of him.
Even though Meade is a little concerned on how Pandorama will perform on the faster ground on which the spring racing will take place, he had this to say to the media: "He did make one mistake, when he launched himself at the third last, but otherwise he was very good. He's a very big horse, and basically he's going to be a chaser in time. In fact, we were contemplating going straight over fences with him, after his bumpers, just as Willie Mullins did with Florida Pearl. But we decided to give him one go over hurdles, to see how he got on, and he was so good that we had to keep going." It is hoped that he will perform just as well as he has on the softer ground, and if he can keep up the performances he has been delivering in his last four starts, Pandorama could be well on his way to becoming a jumps racing legend.