Minella Indo emerged victorious from the season's first skirmish today - Punchestown's Grade 3 Irish Daily Star Best For Racing Chase, as the 2021 Gold Cup hero made a winning seasonal reappearance.
Minella Indo began 2023 with an emotional and heart-warming Tramore success on New Year's Day for trainer Henry De Bromhead and while subsequently pulled up at Cheltenham, today reappeared in fine fettle under Rachael Blackmore.
Last March's Gold Cup-third Conflated faded to finish last of the five runners.
De Bromhead reported “Minella Indo has given us so many great days and I’m delighted to see him start his season like that. His work was really good, but it was also good before the Gold Cup and it just didn’t happen for him there. It was a messy start and it just didn’t happen for him.”
“He jumped from fence to fence today, his ears were pricked and Rachael said he really enjoyed it. I’m also delighted that Barry (Maloney, owner) is here as well.
“We entered him in the north (Down Royal's Champion Chase) but that’s only a couple of weeks away, so we’ll see. We can enjoy today and decide in the next couple of weeks.”
He added “the Grand National is something we can discuss. Coming here after the Gold Cup run, we couldn’t make any big plans but we’re really encouraged now for the rest of the season.”
Paddy Power and Betfair offer 40/1 about Minella Indo for the Grand National and 50/1 to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup.