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Jonjo O’Neill’s 26 Festival wins included Synchronised’s memorable 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup success. He came close to a second success in chasing’s Blue Riband in 2017 with Minella Rocco, who runs this year in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase.
O’Neill said: “Minella Rocco is in great form ahead of the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase. He has had plenty of help along the way this season. He has had two runs and two wins, but the two fancied horses did not really turn up on the day. Hopefully, he has the same luck here! I think obviously dropping down a gear or two has helped him. He should have a sporting chance.
“I will leave the decision regarding where Annie Mc runs up to Simon Clare – then I can blame him if it goes wrong! She is in grand form and has had an easy trip to here, with small fields, although she jumps well to be fair. She is a genuine mare and should run well.
“Cloth Cap did not perform great at Doncaster [finished second of four], which was disappointing. We were hoping he would run well there and go on from that. He has had a few problems at home, albeit nothing serious. Richie [McLernon] rode him in work yesterday and felt he was on the way back, although Cheltenham may come a bit quick for him. Hopefully, we will have him back. The long-term plan would be the Scottish Grand National.”
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