All eyes at Wexford on Monday will be on Minella Indo, as the classy seven-year-old sets out on his second season over fences.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained gelding has shown he is a genuine top-notch performer over both hurdles and the larger obstacles, winning the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019, before finishing second to Champ in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase in March.
He looked like he was going to land a second Festival success in the latter, only for Champ to fly home and prevail by a length.
De Bromhead’s charge is set to face three rivals under Rachael Blackmore in the M.W. Hickey Memorial Chase over two miles and seven furlongs, including another Cheltenham Festival winner in the shape of Gordon Elliott’s Fulke Walwyn hero Milan Native.
De Bromhead said: “Minella Indo is in good form. He can usually be a bit slow to come to hand, so we said we’d get him out early.
“We will get him started and decide where to go after that. There is a new race for second-season novices at Navan at the end of November he could go for.”
There will also be plenty of interest in the following Garry Flood Landscaping Beginners Chase, where Elliott’s Grade Two-winning novice hurdler Andy Dufresne makes his chasing bow.