Posted: 13th Jan 2016
Apache Stronghold: last seen at the Punchestown Festival in AprilPICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
LAST season's JLT Novices' Chase runner-up Apache Stronghold is unlikely to appear this campaign.
The eight-year-old has not raced since finishing third to Valseur Lido at Punchestown in the Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Chase last April and trainer Noel Meade said: "We might get him to Punchestown, but I'd say he'll probably miss the season.
"It's not a tendon injury but every time I go at him it just flares up again. At this stage I think we're as well off to forget about it for the season. He has a splint coming out of the back of his suspensory ligament."
Apache Stronghold finished first, second or third six times as a novice, with a highlight victory coming in the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown in February.
Meade also conceded that 2014 Albert Barlett winner Very Wood's career is in severe doubt.
The seven-year-old has been absent since finishing well beaten in last season's National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham.
The trainer said: "He's not been with me for some time. He's damaged a joint that they have had awful problems with and I'm not sure he'll ever be right."
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