Minella Indo proved that his Cheltenham success was no fluke as he recorded the Grade 1 Cheltenham-Punchestown double when running out a battling winner of the Irish Daily Mirror Novices Hurdle.
The six-year-old had only recorded his first success over hurdles when landing the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival when providing Rachael Blackmore with her first Grade 1 success.
The Beat Hollow gelding, who started his career by winning a Dromahane maiden for John Nallen, showed a great battling attitude as he confirmed the Cheltenham placings with Willie Mullins’ Allaho, getting the measure of that French-bred from the final flight to win the €100,000 contest by two lengths.
Irish point-to-point graduates featured prominently in the valuable Grade 1 prize, with Carefully Selected third, First Approach in fourth and recent Listed Perth winner Go Another One back in fifth.
“He is a very tough horse; we went a proper gallop there and he picked up after the last – he was very good,” said the winning rider.
“He settled lovely. It probably wasn’t the hustle and bustle as Cheltenham, the hustle and bustle of Cheltenham had him a bit keen, but he settled lovely.
“The Maloney family are such good supporters of the game so it’s brilliant for them.
“John Nallen and Corky Carroll always taught a lot of this horse and I’m delighted for them that he is doing so well,” added Blackmore following her second Grade 1 success on Irish soil.