Leading Irish trainer Henry De Bromhead has discussed the options his leading chasers face this season with handler having three horses that could possibly line up in the Gold Cup this term.
Monalee is one of his leading chances in the big chase events this term after his spirited close fourth in the Gold Cup lat term, just coming up short behind Al Boum Photo, Santini and Lostintranslation.
Although not being able to land any of his three events last term the nine year old still showed plenty of talent when finishing in the frame in all of his events, with a close second in the Savills Chase behind Delta Work one of his best efforts of the season.
Monalee is set to return to action in the Boomerang.ie Chase at Thurles a week on Thursday and it will be used as a big stepping stone for his outing on Boxing Day at Kempton in the King George VI Chase.
(Credit ATR) De Bromhead said: “He’s great. He will go to Thurles next week and start in a Listed chase there, then we were thinking we might go to the King George with him and see how we get on there.
“Then obviously we will aim him towards the Gold Cup.”
Minella Indo is arguably his best chance for the Cheltenham feature event this term with the seven year old showing during his career to date just how good he can be, using his hurdles form to become a star chaser.
Having landed back to back Grade Ones a over timber in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle and Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle, he went novice chasing and after running well on debut behind star mare Laurina, he landed a Beginners Chase at Navan before narrowly being beaten in the RSA Novices' Chase at the festival, With Champ pipping him on the line.
Coming out of novice company this term he started his season off at Wexford at the back end of October in the Grade Three Memorial Chase where he jumped the field into submission, going on to win the event by 25 lengths.
De Bromhead has now set his sights on the BetVictor Make Your Best Bet Chase at Navan on November 22nd.
He said: “He’s a really good horse, obviously, and he was good the other day. I was delighted with him, I was actually surprised by how sharp he was to be honest, usually he takes a while to warm up. He was brilliant that day I thought and he will go to Navan next week and then maybe on to Leopardstown at Christmas.
“He’s won over three miles over hurdles, he was just chinned in the RSA – I think he’s got as good a profile as any (for the Gold Cup).”
A Plus Tard is one of the many special jumps horses that Cheveley Park Stud now own and although having to settle for the runner-up spot for the second successive year in Navan’s Fortria Chase on Sunday, he could have a break through season.
During his career the six year old has landed some nice events including the Novices' Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham festival and the Grade One over 2m1f at Leopardstown during the Christmas meeting.
His handler believes that he is not suited by a quick two miles and more of a stamina test will be up next for the black type winner.
He said: “I was a little bit disappointed I suppose (on Sunday), but he just seems to get caught out. Until he won at Christmas, I’d never really had him as a two-miler. Then he was so impressive at Christmas – that’s two-one at Leopardstown – but he just doesn’t seem to jump those fences quick enough over that trip.
“It was a nice start. Your hands are tied a little bit as he’s so much better going left-handed, so there aren’t many two-and-a-half-mile races on left-handed tracks until the spring.
“It was good to get him out and we’ll enter him probably for the Savills Chase and the race he won last year at Leopardstown and decide nearer the time. I’d be leaning towards trying him over three miles, but we’ll see.”
Chris's Dream is a chaser that goes under the radar for the yard, but has already showed this season he can mix it with the best chasers in Ireland when finishing second to The Storyteller in the Grade One Champion Chase.
Winner of the Grade Two Red Mills Chase over two and a half miles last season at Gowran Park, he could now switch back to that distance in search of a first top-level strike at Punchestown next month.
De Bromhead said: “Chris was brilliant, he ran a cracker there the other day at Down Royal and was unfortunate not to win. He still ran a blinder.
“I would say we’ll drop him back to two and a half miles in the John Durkan and then we’ll give him a good break and train him for the spring. He seems to run very well fresh.”