Past Winners » Minella Indo


(Message of 31st October 2020)

It is time to back Minella Indo for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  He has shaped like a horse for the 2021 Gold Cup since he won the 2019 Albert Bartlett Hurdle, and nothing has happened in the meantime to change that notion.

Henry de Bromhead’s horse was desperately unlucky not to win the RSA Chase last March.  He and Allaho went at each other from early, which wasn’t ideal, but Allaho was his main danger in my book, so it made sense to ride him to beat Allaho, which he did.  And even after that, if he had jumped the final fence a little better, he probably still would have held off Champ’s finishing surge.  It was just one of those races.  He was probably the best horse in the race and he didn’t win it.

I considered backing him before he made his seasonal debut at Wexford on Monday, but I figured that the potential downside to backing him before that race was greater than the potential upside.  He is a stuffy horse, he usually needs a run or two – he was beaten on his previous two seasonal debuts – and, even if he beat Milan Native, it was probable that his Gold Cup odds wouldn’t be shortened too much.

He did beat Milan Native, he was seriously impressive in so doing and, thankfully, his Gold Cup odds haven’t been cut too drastically, form a best price of 12/1 to a best price of 10/1.

10/1 is more than fair, given the quality of his seasonal debut.  His jumping was very good, and he beat a good horse in Milan Native impressively, the Kim Muir winner.  And he still should come on for it.

He is gaining traction, so we need to back him now.  His price could contract further in the near future.

He is a top class staying chaser, still an under-rated chaser in my book.  He has won the Albert Bartlett Hurdle and finished second in the RSA Chase in two runs at the Cheltenham Festival.  He stays and he has pace and he jumps well, and he is trained by a top class trainer and ridden by a top class rider in Rachael Blackmore.  As well as that, he is only seven rising eight, and he has raced just four times over fences and just nine times under Rules.  He still has the potential to progress again.

I like this plan too that Henry de Bromhead seems to have for him: get him out early and busy before Christmas – the plan is apparently to go to Navan now next – and then hopefully ease off after Christmas.  I wouldn’t mind if he ran in the Savills Chase at Christmas and then missed the Irish Gold Cup.  In any case, you can be sure that, given a clear run, his trainer will have him at concert pitch on Gold Cup day.

Al Boum Photo still sets the standard in the Gold Cup, but there is every chance that Minella Indo will improve sufficiently to get up to his level at least and possibly beyond.