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  • Writer's picturePeter McNeile

Minella Indo and A Plus Tard Set for Punchestown after Cheltenham Gold Cup

After her victorious outing at Cheltenham, Minella Indo as well as A PlusTard are possibly to take part at Punchestown and Aintree respectively after offering Henry de Bromhead with a 1-2 in the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup last week.

The handler, based in Knockeen, Ireland, enjoyed a remarkable week in the Cotswolds – as he became the first trainer ever to saddle the victor of the Champion Hurdle, Gold Cup, and the Queen Mother Champion Chase in the same week.

Minella Indo finished the Festival when denying favourite stablemate A Plus Tard in last Friday's encounter - and could now attempt to crown his campaign with another win in the Punchestown Gold Cup on April 28.

Minella Indo under Jack Kennedy secures Cheltenham's blue riband
Minella Indo under Jack Kennedy secures Cheltenham's blue riband

On Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday programme, De Bromhead said looking back at the recently concluded Gold Cup, it’s been scarcely credible as he watched a repeat on Sunday morning and was wondering if the races he watched actually took place. He stressed the fighting spirit and strength of Minella Indo, "Minella Indo kept staying and I'm not sure we've seen the half of him - he's so tough.”

De Bromhead confirmed he’s yet to have a chat with the horse's owner, Barry Maloney, about plans, but stressed that Punchestown would be fantastic if he continues sound, giving BoyleSports the chance to deliver the early odds for the horse.

A Plus Tard showed an excellent display during the race to finish as runner-up under the guidance of the all-conquering Rachael Blackmore and could travel to Aintree for the Betway Bowl, given his apparent preference for left-handed horse race tracks.

De Bromhead also named the next autumn's Betfair Chase at Haydock as a likely target.

De Bromhead further stressed "The one question about A PlusTard going into Cheltenham was he's got so much class, but would he get the last two furlongs? But he really did; in fairness to him - and wouldn't he have been a very impressive winner if 'Indo' wasn't there?

"A-Plus Tard's form is ridiculously better on left-handed tracks, so if he's well, we're considering Aintree for him. That (going left-handed) limits him, but the race at Haydock could be a lovely race for him in the autumn."

"When you have two horses like that, you'd love to try to keep them apart as best you can."

The very first of all six victors on the week for Blackmore and De Bromhead was the fantastic mare Honeysuckle, who extended her unbeaten stint to 11 with a runaway triumph last Tuesday in the Champion Hurdle. While no one knows what the future has to offer, connections have rumored the likelihood of a future over fences, with an attempt to emulate Dawn Run - the only horse to emerge victorious in the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle - in mind.

De Bromhead however maintained that it's something that requires a lot of deliberation and ultimately it comes down to owner, Kenny Alexander. Cheltenham's holy trinity wwas not the only three races De Bromhead won during a virtual Irish whitewash at Cheltenham. Bob Olinger in the Ballymore, Quilixios in the Triumph Hurdle, and Telmesomethinggirl in the Mares Novices' Hurdle, made up his six winners, and it was only on placed horses that he lost out on the leading trainer award.

He now faces a period of quarantine after a return to County Waterford.

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