Cheltenham Festival News

De Bromhead in dreamland as Minella Indo fends off A Plus Tard in Gold Cup

Fri 19 Mar 2021

Watch a full replay below of how stablemates Minella Indo and A Plus Tard dominated the closing stages of steeplechasing's premier contest at Cheltenham on Friday.

 Jack Kennedy and Henry de Bromhead punch the air as jockey and trainer celebrate WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph with Minella Indo (Photo: Focusonracing)
Jack Kennedy and Henry de Bromhead punch the air as jockey and trainer celebrate WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph with Minella Indo (Photo: Focusonracing)

Minella Indo edged out A Plus Tard to give trainer Henry de Bromhead a one-two in the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Ridden by Jack Kennedy, Minella Indo (9-1) got the better of gallant stablemate A Plus Tard, who was partnered by Festival sensation Rachael Blackmore.

The victory capped an incredible week for De Bromhead, who also collected the Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase and has had six winners in all.

Frodon and Bryony Frost made the extended three-and-a-quarter-mile showpiece a true test. With Kemboy and Black Op for company, the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon put in serious leaps through the early stage, but Nicky Henderson’s hopes were dashed early on with Champ and Santini pulled up.

Watch a full replay of the 2021 Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup

Willie Mullins’ Al Boum Photo – seeking a third successive win in the race – was ridden patiently, while A Plus Tard always had the leaders in his sights.

Blackmore closed the door on 9-4 favourite Al Boum Photo as the field galloped down towards the home turn, and it became a fight between the two De Bromhead runners.

But Minella Indo held the upper hand and repelled the determined challenge of the runner-up to win by a length and a quarter.

Al Boum Photo was four and a quarter lengths away in third. Native River, the winner in 2018, was fourth and Frodon fifth.

De Bromhead said he felt like he was still dreaming and explained to Racing TV: “I think I’m still in the hotel - it’s Monday night and it is the start of the week and nothing has happened as of yet, it's mad!

“I keep saying it’s amazing but it genuinely is. I was looking at him (Al Boum Photo) thinking he is going to stay on. Jack was brilliant on Indo. He is just such a tough horse. To see him pricking his ears after the second last was great, but it is all down to the crew at home and here.

Jack Kennedy tells Lydia Hislop how he and Minella Indo won the big one

“They are working so hard and it’s brilliant. The support of all our clients is brilliant. He certainly did (travel well the whole way through). Whatever it is about here, it is a bit like Put The Kettle On, he just comes alive. He is fast asleep at home on a daily basis. Even saddling him there he was like he was before the Albert Bartlett kicking the back wall. He was so up for it.

“We had the mishap at Christmas and then he wasn’t as good in the Irish Gold Cup but we wanted to get a clear round that day and Rachael rode him brilliantly but it has all come together here it’s fantastic.”

Asked what the victory means to him he added: “It’s massive and the Gold Cup is what you dream about winning. Any of these races, winners at Cheltenham, I can’t tell you how much they mean, you just dream about it. Like I say, I’m going to wake up it’s Monday evening and that's it.

“She did have the choice of the two. I would always try to stay out of that (of saying which one to ride) as I would hate to put her the wrong way. I leave all that to Rachael.

“Everyone has been asking me that before the race (was Rachael on the right one). I couldn’t split them. I just let her do it and I don’t like to interfere on that. She knew they were both training well.”

When told he is now the first trainer to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup in the same week he added: “It is incredible to think it. I’ve been coming here plenty of years with plenty of tough results but also some great ones.

“As I say though everyone who is working with us home and the crew here I couldn’t do it without them and the clients that give us the opportunity to buy these good horses. I just feel extremely lucky.

“It will be me myself, and I on the car and on the ferry and that is there is no celebrating. It will be quarantine for five days when I get back home. I’m looking forward to getting back home and seeing the family.”

In a separate interview with Racing TV, de Bromhead added: “It’s unbelievable. I’m delighted for everybody, all connections. The Maloneys — Barry, Mike and everyone — we’ve had so much fun with this guy, we weren’t beaten far last year with Monalee, so to go and do it with him… he’s just an incredible horse who comes alive here.

“When we saw Allaho winning like he did yesterday, it gave us more confidence with him. He’s amazing. He just comes alive, he’s a different horse. A little bit like Put The Kettle On. He’s been amazing.”

Reflecting on the week he has had, he added: “I think I’m still in my hotel, it’s Monday evening and I’m about to wake up in a few minutes and nothing has even started yet!

Kennedy told ITV Racing: "I can't believe it, this is what I've dreamt of since I was a child. I'm just so grateful to Henry and (owner) Barry Maloney for giving me a chance and the opportunity to ride him. I can't thank them enough, I'll owe them forever.

"This is what I live for. I just can't believe this is after happening, I'm delighted.

"I was there very soon on him, but I didn't want to disappoint him, he carried me into it and I didn't want to be taking him back.

"I landed over the last and he pricked his ears, he was pulling up, but it wasn't out of tiredness and when he heard Rachael coming back at him, he took off again. It's unbelievable stuff."

Mullins was proud of Al Boum Photo in defeat.

The Closutton trainer said: "A great run from Al Boum Photo, he ran his heart out. The winner was very unlucky last year (in what was the RSA Chase) and A Plus Tard's form was very good in Ireland, so we've no excuses.

"Our fellow ran a cracker of a race and it was a great race for the three horses over the last three fences."

He added: "Kemboy jumped very well throughout, Danny (Mullins) just said that he just started to feel the pinch after the water fence. He gave him a little breather and he just wasn't able to get back in the race."

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