Minella Indo and A Plus Tard set for Gold Cup reunion


Henry de Bromhead has entered each of the 2021 top two for this year's renewal

Tuesday, January 04, 2022
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Jack Kennedy leads Minella Indo to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory in 2020


Henry de Bromhead will hope lightning strikes twice in the Cheltenham Gold Cup having signalled his intent by entering both last year’s top two in the 2022 Festival feature, writes Paul Martin.

Minella Indo held off A Plus Tard to win a thriller by a length and a quarter last year under Jack Kennedy but it’s the latter who heads the ante-post market this time around having impressed in winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.

A Plus Tard did not have it all his own way at Leopardstown last week, however, and his Savills Chase conqueror Galvin will hope to have the eight-year-old’s number once more at Prestbury Park having been entered by Gordon Elliott.

Galvin, who won the Grade 2 Sam Vestey National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices' Chase at last year’s Festival, appears Elliott’s best chance of landing a second Gold Cup following Don Cossack’s success in 2016.

The Gold Cup has not been outside Irish possession since 2018 and the ante-post market is dominated by representatives from the green corner.

 

In addition to last year’s frontrunners and Galvin, Al Boum Photo is going for a third Gold Cup in four years having been entered by Willie Mullins.

The 2019 and 2020 champion began 2022 with a bang by returning from a 248-day absence to ease home in the Grade 3 Savills New Year Chase at Tramore while stablemate Tornado Flyer is also well fancied following a remarkable King George triumph on St Stephen’s Day.

John Durkan winner Allaho, Asterion Forlonge, Carefully Selected, Franco De Port and Melon make up the remainder of Mullins’ seven entries.

Mount Ida, fresh from Grade 3 success at Fairyhouse, is among the rest of Elliott’s five submissions while Eklat De Rire completes the De Bromhead trio.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase could see a Mullins stable star set for a titanic battle as Energumene is entered alongside dual Cheltenham Festival winner Shishkin, the Nicky Henderson-trained ace who remains unbeaten over fences.

Energumene is five from five himself when chasing and has the option of this or the Ryanair Chase the following day, having been entered for both – the same tactic used by De Bromhead for reigning Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Put The Kettle On.

Reigning Ryanair Chase champion Allaho and Chacun Pour Soi are also among the entries for both races, as is Envoi Allen – who has also been entered for the Champion Hurdle as De Bromhead keeps his options open.

Mullins is looking to continue his Ryanair Chase dominance, having won four of the last six renewals.

The Gold Cup has not been outside Irish possession since 2018 and the ante-post market is dominated by representatives from the green corner.

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