Monksland leaves it late

Monksland came with a soaring late run on the inside under Paul Carberry to win the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Whatuthink took them along in the early stages and he soon established a significant lead under Tom Doyle, with the pair still holding a big advantage rounding the home turn.

Zaidpour and Ruby Walsh set off in pursuit of the long-time front-runner and looked likely to prevail as they reeled him in, but Monksland managed to reverse Hatton's Grace form with Willie Mullins' horse as he sneaked up the inside.

Zaidpour finished second with So Young staying on for third.

Sky Bet were impressed with the winner and cut him to 6/1 from 20s for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

"We want to keep Monksland on-side after an impressive performance, as Cheltenham's stiff finish will certainly suit," said Sky Bet's Richard Horner.

Meade said: "I didn't really know if he would stay (three miles), but sometimes with those horses that win bumpers you usually find they stay really well. He never lets you down.

"The World Hurdle is open enough now, but we'll live for today. He's a very young horse, he's only five and he's very easy to train.

"He had a hard race today and might not run before Cheltenham."

Carberry said: "He wasn't mad about the ground. It's a bit sticky. He was struggling on it so I sat up on him a bit and he got a second wind and did very well to get up. He's a class horse. That's the worst the ground has been all week, very gluey."