Things have not gone the way of Minella Indo this season but connections of the defending champ will have had only one day circled in the calendar all season, March 18th. He’s not as good right-handed as he is this way around so his defeats at Down Royal and Kempton are of no concern, running better at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival when still looking like he would come on plenty for the run. There is little depth in this division at present and with the ground liable to dry out again, he can add to his Cheltenham Festival form of 121 and come alive at Prestbury Park once more. – Matt Newman
The ground could be an important factor come race time and although the track is heavy at the time of writing this post, it may well have good in the description again by 3.30pm on Friday. Whatever the ground, Minella Indo could be the horse that they all have to beat. He beat A Plus Tard fair and square in the Gold Cup last year and if he brings his A-game, there is no reason why he can’t do it again. He hated Kempton and was a huge eye-catcher behind Conflated at Leopardstown last time, staying on well once the bird had flown when probably only 70 per cent fit. Likely to be 100 per cent now, he can win another Gold Cup. – Adrian Wall
A lot has been made about the decision to water the course on Tuesday night after Wednesday’s relentless deluge all day. There is one horse however that has been waiting for testing ground all season. Royale Pagaille needs the soft ground to get him into this as quick ground leaves him struggling to go the early pace and leads to jumping errors as seen in last year’s Gold Cup. Team Venetia Williams’ wonderful day on Wednesday combined with the going change has seen his price collapse somewhat. He can’t shorten much more however and just about remains an each-way price. The trip is perfect for him and he has stamina in abundance.
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