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2016 Cheltenham Festival ante post plays: Minella has a Grand chance

David Metcalf | March 9, 2016

Minella Present has plenty going for him in Grand Annual

Minella Present looks potentially ahead of the assessor and decent value at 12/1 with Coral in the ante post betting for the Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday, March 18th.

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The Neil Mulholland trained gelding was a smart hurdle performer who has shown progressive form since being sent chasing.

Minella Present has had just five starts over the larger obstacles, winning once and finishing in the frame on the other four occasions.

After scoring in good style by five lengths at Fontwell, the seven-year-old ran very well when chasing home Violet Dancer at Towcester.

Towcester run represents strong form

Minella Present stayed on to be beaten just over three lengths, and it was a very solid effort trying to give 6lb to the winner, who went on to score three-times and be rated 147 before sadly having to be put down after suffering complications whilst recovering from an operation.

The son of Presenting backed that up with a career-best effort when runner-up to Keel Haul in a competitive 15-runner handicap at Cheltenham.

Minella Present got badly hampered three from home and denied a clear run approaching the last before powering up the hill to be beaten just a length.

Cheltenham effort makes handicap mark look lenient

It was tremendous effort given how the race panned out, and there is little doubt in my mind that Minella would have won but for those two unfortunate incidents at vital stages.

Although now 5lb higher in the weights, a revised mark of 135 looks very exploitable judged on that effort and especially his run behind Violet Dancer.

Horse Racing - Coral Welsh Grand National - Chepstow Racecourse

Minella Present was also rated as high as 142 over hurdles, and is clearly on an upward curve and remains open to stacks more progress over fences.

Mulholland has also resisted the temptation to run Minella Present again and kept him fresh for this, and reports his charge to be in “great order”.

Another plus is that Minella Present is also versatile as regards ground, and everything looks in place for a huge run at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

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Read our extensive horse racing archive, including our trusted Cheltenham Festival section.

Coral’s ante post play: Minella Present each-way at 12/1 in the Grand Annual Chase.

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