Tuesday 20 August 2019

Minella Indo shooting for big Festival double

Minella Indo ridden by Rachael Blackmore on their way to victory at the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle during Gold Cup Day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.
Minella Indo ridden by Rachael Blackmore on their way to victory at the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle during Gold Cup Day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Cheltenham Festival hero Minella Indo bids for another Grade One victory in the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown today.

Henry de Bromhead's charge was a shock 50/1 winner of the Albert Bartlett at Prestbury Park and bids to confirm his superiority over Gordon Elliott's runner-up Commander Of Fleet and the third home Allaho, trained by Willie Mullins. Elliott also saddles Defi Bleu, while Allaho spearheads a four-strong Mullins team which also includes Carefully Selected.

The latter was second in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and third in the corresponding race at Punchestown last season, but has run just once over hurdles - winning at Limerick in mid-March.

Mullins' assistant, David Casey, said: "Allaho ran very well in Cheltenham, but was just a little bit raw. We think he'll improve plenty for that and we think he's a very good horse going forward. He should make a very good chaser.

"Carefully Selected hasn't run much this season as we've been waiting on softer ground. He won his maiden hurdle and deserves his chance. He was a top-class bumper horse last season and ran well in the Champion Bumper in Punchestown. It looks a tough race, but hopefully we've got a strong enough hand."

Castlebawn West and the only mare in the field, Salsaretta, complete the Closutton quartet.

John McConnell is looking forward to saddling recent Perth victor Go Another One, with Britain's champion jockey Richard Johnson in the saddle.

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