Saturday, 18 November 2017

November Meeting: Minella Rocco can take winning step on Golden Path

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Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco returns to Cheltenham as Jonjo O'Neill eyes a handicap prize with the former Festival winner.

The seven-year-old, who triumphed in the 2016 National Hunt Chase, finished powerfully up the hill to finish behind Sizing John. Yet on his return he could only take fourth spot at Punchestown.

The JP McManus team are plotting his way back to the blue ribbon event, and are hopeful this handicap gives him a winning opportunity at his favourite track.

“He was very disappointing at Punchestown, as we thought he would run a lot better than that,” said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

“I think afterwards we thought he probably needed the run and will come on for it. He loves it round Cheltenham and he was third in this year last year.

"We would like to think about going back to the Gold Cup, and the Grand National but we will wait to see how he gets on in this.

"Jonjo has said he is in very good form and we are hoping for a good run.”

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Phillip Hobbs is well represented in the race with Three Faces West

Minella Rocco is currently priced at 20-1 for the Gold Cup, but also well fancied for April's Grand National where he shares favoritism with Blaklion.

Phillip Hobbs' Three Faces West looks his biggest danger of the eight rivals. The nine-year-old is returning from almost a year off the track, but won easily on his last two starts and remains on the same mark as when a thirteen length winner at Newbury in December.

Scottish National winner Vicente makes his return for Paul Nicholls, Benbens was seventh that day whilst Premier Bond and Shotgun Paddy finished unplaced. The quartet battle against each other once again.

Doing Fine runs for Neil Mulholland, whilst Sizing Codelco and Perfect Candidate also feature.

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