Minella Indo’s owner Barry Maloney admits his charge “needs to deliver” in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup on Sunday.
A short-priced favourite with the sponsors for the feature race on the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival, the eight-year-old has to bounce back from an early fall in the Savills Chase over Christmas.
“Look, it was a very novicey mistake last time – he got too close and never rose up,” said Maloney.
“He’d not put a foot wrong before that and hopefully it was a one-off. Rachael (Blackmore) was up on him last week and jumped a few and he was jumping beautifully with no adverse effects and we’re hopeful.”
That was the first real blemish of Minella Indo’s career, as he had never been out of the first three prior to that.
“He’s been great – he only got half a race last time and we’re excited to get this run into him. He’s the kind of horse who needs a lot of work and we’re looking forward to him running,” said Maloney.
“Before last time he’s never been out of the three, mostly in the two, and look, he’s been unbelievable. He’s one of those horses that we’re very privileged to be involved with and we’re hoping that he will redeem himself and we’re very excited for the race.”
Minella Indo is prominent in the betting for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and having won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and been caught in the shadow of the post by Champ in the RSA last season, Prestbury Park certainly holds no fears.
“He will definitely go for the Cheltenham Gold Cup if all goes well on Sunday,” said Maloney.
“He’ll head to the Gold Cup for sure and look, in the RSA last year his jumping was faultless until the last fence and for whatever reason, he got over it but not very well.
“Had he jumped the last fence like he jumped the rest of them, Champ wouldn’t have got to him. Allaho was there after the last and fair play to Champ, but had he jumped it, he would not have been caught – no way.
“Fingers crossed he’s favourite for Sunday’s race and he’s in against the big boys. He fluffed his lines last time and he needs to deliver this time.”