Minella Rocco may return at Doncaster

O’Neill’s classy stayer one of 14 left in Sky Bet Chase

  • Monday 21 January
  • News
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Jonjo O’Neill’s 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Minello Rocco heads 14 remaining entries for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on Saturday.

Minella Rocco has not been seen since falling in the Irish Gold Cup almost a year ago, and has subsequently undergone a wind operation.

Paul Nicholls has three left in, Warriors Tale, Art Mauresque and Favorito Buck’s.

Nicky Henderson’s O O Seven, Alan King’s Dingo Dollar and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Go Conquer are others likely to have plenty of followers.

One stepping up in trip to three miles for the first time is Charlie Longsdon’s Willie Boy, a winner at Wetherby on Boxing Day.

“He’ll run this weekend – we want to see if he’ll get three miles,” said Longsdon.

“In those top races over two and a half miles he can travel well enough, but he gets confused with his jumping. So going up in trip, it should slow him down half a gear.

“Good ground and three miles at Doncaster on a galloping left-handed track is the right place to try it with him.”

Longsdon is optimistic Willie Boy will have the necessary stamina.

“He was still going very nicely when he fell four out in the BetVictor Gold Cup – and he hadn’t jumped well that day, because he was probably in top gear the whole time.

“He wore cheekpieces at Wetherby and they seemed to really sharpen up his jumping – so he’ll wear them again.”

Simglefarmpayment, Brian Boranha, Calipto, On Tour, Monbeg River and Fedirici are also all still in the mix at the five-day stage.

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