Monkfish cements Gold Cup status

18 March 2021 04:23:04 GMTPlus11

Trainer Willie Mullins says Monkfish will likely go for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next year after proving his class with victory in Wednesday's Brown Advisory Novices' Chase.

Despite producing far from a fluent performance, the seven-year-old, who almost fell at the final hurdle, was able to power clear of outsider Fiddlerontheroof in the race for the line to win by six-and-a-half lengths.

A second successive Cheltenham Festival victory had been expected for last year's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle winner and Mullins says the attention will now turn to the Blue Riband event of the meeting.

Monkfish is 7.00 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2022 and despite giving his trainer a fright over the final obstacle, Mullins says he's seen more than enough from the Rich and Susannah Ricci-owned runner to suggest he can continue to improve heading into next season.

"I imagine that will be his aim," Mullins told the Racing Post. "The lack of concentration, I think, was down to the lack of runners in the race and once you go into a Gold Cup field they'll be going much faster and they'll be racing. Paul just felt he wasn't racing for the first circuit today and that he thought he was just schooling.

"He certainly seems like a Gold Cup type, so we keep our fingers crossed that he remains sound and continues his upward curve."

While Mullins was able to celebrate one of his strong Festival fancies doing the business on Wednesday, Chacun Pour Soi wasn't able to follow suit after being collared 100 yards from the line by Put The Kettle On in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The Mullins runner seemed to have everything in hand, only to run out of steam up the run-in as Aidan Coleman guided last year's Arkle winner to glory in the feature race of the day.

Henry de Bromhead's charge is 15.00 to retain his Champion Chase title in 2022, while Chacun Pour Soi is 7.00 and this year's Arkle winner Shishkin is 2.50.

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