Meade's in top form at Galway
It is now 10 seasons since Noel Meade was crowned champion trainer in Ireland and it has probably been a while since he has been as excited about his team going into the winter months.
Yesterday's Galway card featured more pointers for the current jump season than any other meeting thus far and Meade bagged an impressive treble on the day.
The former champion wouldn't have the numbers required to be thinking of regaining the champion trainer title now but having been one of the beneficiaries of the split between Gigginstown and Willie Mullins and already having a nice team prior to that news, Meade followers are sure to be looking forward to the coming months.
Instigating the treble yesterday was the impressive maiden hurdle winner Le Martalin who didn't have to be asked any serious questions by Sean Flanagan on his way to recording a 17-length victory on what was his first start over hurdles and his first in the colours of Gigginstown House Stud.
The O'Leary's swooped to obtain the five-year-old after a 14-length success in a Listowel bumper last month and although it's early season as far as the big guns are concerned, they certainly look to have a promising type to plot a path for.
Monksland was probably the horse that most pleased the trainer given that prior to his seasonal bow yesterday he admitted the horse "isn't that wound up" with an engagement at Down Royal at the start of next month his main aim.
Given a patient ride by Sean Flanagan, the talented nine-year-old had a tough task to reel in the evens favourite Marinero but did so in the very closing stages to score by a head.
Meade said afterwards: "I'm thrilled with him as he really was just three quarters ready. The race was there and I thought we won't get as good a chance to run him again before the north.
"He might go for the three mile race (Grade One) because I think the three miles will suit him better. We will see how he is, hopefully he will come out of this okay."
Gordon Elliott's Coral Cup winner, Diamond King, made an impressive winning start over fences at the same meeting under Davy Russell.
A drifter in the betting before the off, the seven-year-old was still sent off odds on and duly obliged passing the judge 14-lengths in front of Lucky Pat.
Meanwhile, bookmakers BoyleSports were forced to suspend betting on the Irish trainers championship yesterday after reporting "a flood of money" for Willie Mullins.
Following the exit of Gigginstown from Closutton, bookmakers initially installed Gordon Elliott as favourite before Mullins returned to the head of the betting but now BoyleSports are currently giving no offers while Paddy Power make Mullins 1/4 from 4/9 after being "bamboozled" by the rush to back the reigning champion "at any price".