Leading Irish trainer Henry De Bromhead is looking ahead to the future, amidst the Coronavirus saga and is building a strong team of runners ahead of the Punchestown Festival.
One of the big names that the trainer is excited about unleashing again is Monalee who has really put himself in the elite runners in the Gold Cup division this season finishing a narrow second two starts ago at Leopardstown in the Savills Chase and last time out finishing another close fourth in the Grade One Cheltenham Gold Cup.
However, although putting in some strong performances in defeat it is now over a year since the nine year old has last won with it coming in a Grade Two at Gowran Park last February.
He will be finishing his season in the Punchestown Gold Cup and although being pulled up in the event last season he looks a very different animal in these types of events this year and could cause an upset.
(Credit At The Races) The Trainer said:“It was a brilliant run in the Gold Cup. He was a bit unlucky as he got hit across the face going up the hill, which didn’t help him, but the stewards said it was accidental.
“He got murdered at the top of the hill, but these things happen. However, he did run a blinder.
“He has always been a very good horse and we were happy with the run, but those things certainly didn’t help us.
“I would think he would go for the Punchestown Gold Cup if it is on.”
Another one of De Bromhead's unlucky stars of the Cheltenham festival was Minella Indo who was inches away from landing the Grade One RSA Chase but was pipped up the hill by the Nicky Henderson trained Champ.
The seven year old will now be targeted at the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novices’ Chase where he will be sure to run another stormer if coming out of the Cheltenham festival in good health.
His trainer added:“He ran a cracker and just got done out of it late on by Champ. Who knows if we would have would won had we met the last right, as Barry (Geraghty) got a real surge out of Champ and fair play to them.
“We would consider the three-mile-one novice at Punchestown. We’ve not made any plans, but we would certainly consider it if there is any racing on by then.”
De Bromhead has been impressed with Minella Indo over fences this season and is confident he can continue what he has been doing over the larger obstacles and be a genuine Gold Cup contender next season.
He said: “We would hope he is a Gold Cup horse next season, but we have got to see how good this season’s novice chasers are.“He is a horse we hoped would be one to run in those types of races.”