Minella Indo heads Henry de Bromhead’s star team for Punchestown Festival

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Minella Indo heads Henry de Bromhead's star team for the 2021 Punchestown Festival.

The winner of the WellChild-sponsored feature will bid to sign off his season in style in the Punchestown Gold Cup on April 28.

Minella Indo led home stablemate A Plus Tard at Prestbury Park – and aims to follow up back on home turf like he did in 2019, after taking the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

Fresh from their stellar Cheltenham performance, jockey Jack Kennedy keeps the ride.

"Minella Indo has been really good (since)," said De Bromhead.

"He's so laid back but he's great. We backed off him for a few days afterwards, he got a bit chubby straight away so we had to start back with him again but he seems in great form.

"He was on the beach this morning and loved that, so yes we are happy with him."

Unibet Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle is tasked with extending her unbeaten run to 12 races under Rules in the Punchestown version, sponsored by Paddy Power.

"She seems really good, she has come out of Cheltenham really well and look we are really excited about it, looking forward to the race," De Bromhead said.

"Look she was brilliant (at Cheltenham) and Rachael was brilliant on her, they're just a brilliant combination aren't they? And yes it's just amazing.

"Like I say it probably still hasn't sunk in, but yes really looking forward to Friday (April 30)."

Bob Olinger took the plaudits in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle – and he readily brushed aside his rivals by seven-and-a-half lengths.

On the same day as Honeysuckle's Grade 1, he tackles the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle.

"He is pretty impressive alright in fairness to him," De Bromhead said.

"He was brilliant at Cheltenham, we think a lot of him. "He's great, he seems in really good form.

"Again this time of year you are starting to get nervous coming to the end of the season, it has been a long year so we will see, but he seems in mighty form."

He added: "Like Honey(suckle) the way he tanked there upsides turning into the straight and also I think pulling him up, it looked like Rachael was heading for the rails at one stage. We have always thought a lot of him.

"Thankfully he's doing it on the track as well and he's a very exciting horse."

A rare Cheltenham blip for De Bromhead was Envoi Allen's shock departure at the fourth fence of the Marsh Novices' Chase.

He is all set for a clash with the talented Monkfish in the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Steeplechase – billed as the race of the meeting.

"He worked really well the other day at the Curragh and we are very happy with him," De Bromhead said.

"Obviously it was unfortunate at Cheltenham, it just looked a novicey mistake and he seems in great form so yes we are good to go."

Just weeks after the golden Cheltenham run, in a record haul of 23 winners for the Irish, Minella Times won the Randox Grand National.

Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to scoop the Aintree prize – and De Bromhead said a number of factors have been instrumental in the stable's success.

"Everyone gets a run, it's just incredible ours has happened now," De Bromhead said.

"Loads of different things (why it has happened), obviously building for years, surrounded by a brilliant team here at home, loads of experience between them all.

"Owners that have the confidence and faith in us to deliver, supporting us – brilliant backing in that sense.

"Luck, obviously brilliant jockeys and just a combination of a lot of different things I think.

"No-one is more surprised that I am to be honest but thinking back and reflecting on it I think that's what it is."

Source: Read Full Article