Jack Kennedy looks set to be back on board Minella Indo in the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup next week, owner Barry Maloney has confirmed.
The Kerry native came in for the ride on the eight-year-old in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when Rachael Blackmore decided to ride A Plus Tard, who finished a close second.
“Jack Kennedy will ride him next week, that’s the plan,” Maloney told The Irish Field. “Jack stood in for us brilliantly in the Gold Cup and gave him a great ride. We are glad he is able to ride him again and we’re looking forward to that.
“We felt he was the forgotten horse going into Cheltenham. He had been dismissed a bit after Leopardstown, possibly because Rachael decided to ride A Plus Tard, which was perfectly understandable. But we never wrote him off. He had top class Cheltenham form.
“He’s a lazy horse and he’s difficult to train. He has Henry’s heart broken getting him fit. He eats all around him but he came out of the race great and there is not a bother on him.
“When we were watching his race, I was half thinking, what is going to come from nowhere, just like Champ did last year! But Jack said he could hear A Plus Tard coming towards him and he kicked on again.
“We’re really looking forward to next week. Hopefully he won’t be too lazy and he’ll do his stuff.”
Minella Indo, already a warm favourite with bookmakers who have priced up next week’s three-mile Grade 1 (generally 11/10 shot), could resume rivalry with Al Boum Photo, who relinquished his Gold Cup title when finishing third to Henry de Bromhead’s horse last month. Other possibilities are Kemboy, Fakir D’oudairies and Melon.
READ BARRY MALONEY’S FULL THOUGHTS ON MINELLA INDO AND LOTS MORE IN THE BIG INTERVIEW IN THE IRISH FIELD THIS SATURDAY