MINELLA is a prefix that has become associated with quality, and it has paid dividends for the Nallen family’s Clonmel hotel of the same name.

John Nallen had a year to remember in 2021 when Minella Indo won the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, followed by the Grand National victory for Minella Times. Now along comes another potential star in the shape of David Bobbett’s six-year-old Minella Cocooner, winner of the Grade 1 Golden Cygnet Novice Hurdle from Minella Crooner. They just keep on coming.

Bred by John Asple, Minella Cocooner, a son of Flemensfirth (Alleged), sold to Kevin Ross for €56,000, one of the top dozen prices for a foal at the Tattersalls Ireland November Sale in 2016.

When he ran second in a point-to-point for John Nallen to Grand Jury (who was second in a Grade 1 at Naas last month), Minella Cocooner was acquired by Eamon Phelan on behalf of Bobbett, and now he has won three of his four racecourse appearances, including his only bumper run.

Looking at his female family, Minella Cocooner was destined to be a good horse. He is a son of Askanna, a talented mare who succeeded in all codes. She started with a pair of point-to-point wins, landed a bumper, included a Grade 2 success among her four wins over the smaller obstacles, and finally claimed the Grade 3 John Fowler Memorial Mares Chase at Fairyhouse. She is also dam of the chase winner Waitonit (Presenting) and dual point-to-point winner Ballymorris Rose (Getaway).

Made sense

Sending Askanna to Flemensfirth made sense, apart from his excellence as a sire. Askanna’s half-brother Abolitionist is also by the dual Group 1 winner, and that gelding won the Grade A Leinster National Chase at Naas and was placed in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. Crossing Flemensfirth with mares by Old Vic (Sadler’s Wells) has now produced five blacktype National Hunt winners.

Every generation of this family gets a good horse. All Set (Electric), the third dam of Minella Cocooner, is responsible for the Grade 2 chase winner Racing Demon (Old Vic) who was placed at Grade 1 level in the Royal and SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and the King George VI Chase at Sandown.

All Set had an even better half-brother, Merry Gale (Strong Gale). His 18 racecourse victories when trained by Jim Dreaper included a quartet of Grade 1 chases.