Rachel Blackmore steered home her second Cheltenham Festival winner when Minella Indo led home a one-two for Irish point-to-point graduates in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
The Beat Hollow gelding ran quite keenly throughout tracking the long-time leader Derrinross whilst charting a wide route. Brought alongside that point-to-point graduate, exiting the back straight, the six-year-old began to stride on from the second-last travelling best of his rivals into the home straight.
Rounding the home bend, a wall of horses loomed with their challenges, with Pat Doyle’s Moig South winner, Commander Of Fleet, the Grade 1 winner from the Dublin Racing Festival, the one that emerged from the pack with his challenge.
However it was Minella Indo who found plenty despite that earlier keenness, as he battled gamely after the last to cross the line two lengths in advance of Commander Of Fleet, with the pair seven lengths clear of their 18 other rivals.
Point-to-Point graduates were to the fore with Dickie River fourth, Lisnagar Oscar fifth and the long-time leader Derrinross keeping on to be sixth.
Minella Indo is the latest top-class prospect to emerge from John Nallen’s Minella academy. The Tipperary hotelier having sourced the Dick Lalor-bred youngster at the Tattersalls Ireland November sale as a foal when paying €24,000 to secure the bay as a foal.
He then made his competitive debut as a five-year-old, when winning in the wintery conditions at Dromahane 12 months ago, winning under Johnny Barry by six lengths before being sold privately to join the Henry de Bromhead team.