Friday, 16 June 2017

Jonjo O'Neill's promising Minotaur set for Aintree test on route to 2018 Cheltenham Festival

Jonjo O’Neill’s exciting novice Minotaur is targeting his second victory over hurdles at Aintree this evening.

The former French listed winner is a short price favourite to follow up his maiden success in the Try Foot Golf At Aintree Golf Course Novices' Hurdle (6:50).

In the famous colours of JP McManus he enjoyed a creditable hurdling debut at Ffos Las, being defeated by more experienced rivals A Bold Move and Mon Palois.

But stepped up to power clear to a 20 length success at Cartmel on his next start to enhance his credentials for Jonjo O’Neill.

He takes on a stronger field at Aintree this afternoon, but connections are confident of another strong show from the potentially brilliant five-year-old.

“He’s in good form at home and ran well last time,” said Frank Berry, racing manager to JP McManus.

“Jonjo (O’Neill) is happy with him and we hope he can run well.”

His flat form is exceptionally strong for the hurdler, having ending his time in France with a four length success in listed company.

Wichita Lineman was the last winner of the Albert Bartlett for Jonjo O'Neill and JP McManus in 2007.

He won six times across the Channel picking up over £80,000 in prize money, winning on ground varying from very soft to good.

The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle or Neptune Novices’ Hurdle may be a long-term target for this eight time winner.

However, he does have a declaration for the Northumberland Plate on the flat and O’Neill may try and capitalise on his tidy handicap mark of 103.

This evening his biggest rival at the Lancashire track is Jimmy Breekie who was last seen winning a novice event at Perth in good style earlier this month.

Whilst Bere Haven makes his racecourse debut for Jennie Candlish.

The seven-year-old was victorious on his only start in a point-to-point, winning at Tralee by eight lengths.

Minotaur is as short as 8/13 to take this evening’s contest.

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