Trainer Henry de Bromhead is hopeful the Punchestown Gold Cup will provide two of his stable stars with a chance to make the winner’s circle.
The eyes of the racing world will be on next month’s County Kildare showpiece and the Waterford handler has high hopes for Monalee.
Last seen finishing fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the son of Milan has yet to win this season, with Al Boum Photo landing the Festival’s blue riband event for the second consecutive year (Al Boum Photo – 5/1 – 2021 Gold Cup Winner).
The nine-year-old has not been disgraced this term, finishing third in the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase as Douvan landed the spoils, while he was second behind Delta Work in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown in late December.
The gelding’s last success came in the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase in February last year and he is overdue a return to winning ways.
De Bromhead was happy with his display at Prestbury Park and is now looking to Punchestown for the nine-year-old.
“It was a brilliant run in the Gold Cup,” he said. “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 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.”
Minella Indo finished second to Champ in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase earlier this month and is another being aimed at Punchestown.
Connections are looking at the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novices’ Chase for the seven-year-old, who continues to make progress in the right direction.
Having kicked off the campaign with a second-place finish in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at Gowran Park in November, the son of Beat Hollow won the Eco Friendly Cups Beginners Chase at Navan on January 18.
“We would consider the three-mile-one novice at Punchestown,” he added. “We’ve not made any plans, but we would certainly consider it if there is any racing on by then.
“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.”