GBI RACING

Another Gold Cup bid firmly on the agenda for Minella Rocco

Minella Rocco Jonjo O'Neill is keen to give Minella Rocco the chance to go one better in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
The eight-year-old found only Sizing John too strong in the extended three-and-a-quarter-mile Grade One contest at the Festival last year.
After failing to fire on his penultimate start at Cheltenham, the JP McManus-owned gelding ran a respectable race in defeat when finishing fourth in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase at the Dublin track last month.
O'Neill said: "Minella Rocco ran well in Ireland. He ran as if he had a bit of life left in him. He jumped well and he travelled nicely in the race.
"He just kept on galloping all the way to the line. He was not making any ground, but he didn't stop, which was good to see.
"I think the ground was better for him there and he got a nice, even run all the way. Everything went his way and he is a good horse when things go to plan.
"The plan will be to go back to the Gold Cup. He was second in it last year and he is entitled to have another crack at it."
Plans are in place to give Minella Rocco an outing in either the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown or the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury ahead of a return trip to Prestbury Park.
O'Neill added: "He is in grand old form and what he did the other day, I would like to see him do it again as he is more in and out than most.
"He will be in the Irish Gold Cup and the Denman Chase at Newbury. Those are the two races for him, but I will talk to Frank Berry (McManus' racing manager) to see where he goes.
"I wouldn't mind going back to Ireland with him and the better ground might be there, but we will play it by ear."

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