Will Minella Indo retain his Gold Cup crown in 2022? Our experts have their say
Minella Indo ran out an impressive winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday and we assess whether he has the tools to double up in the race next season.
Younger rivals may have the edge
The age profile of the Gold Cup edges ever more towards young second-season chasers and, while Minella Indo was an impressive winner, he will be nine in 12 months' time.
Runner-up A Plus Tard is only seven and showed he stayed the trip well, albeit his stablemate's idleness probably flattered him on the run-in.
Beaten horses returning for a second crack have a dismal record but, as long as this effort doesn't leave its mark, he still has time on his side.
The fortunes of his owners Cheveley Park will have a big bearing on next year's festival, with Envoi Allen on a recovery mission and Allaho hugely impressive in the Ryanair earlier this week.
But if Willie Mullins can get Monkfish to the Gold Cup in top form, they might all be playing for the runner-up spot, as he can follow Minella Indo’s example of scoring in the Albert Bartlett en route to the biggest prize of all.
Scott Burton, reporter
Talented novice is the only way to look
There's only one winner of the 2022 Gold Cup and that's Monkfish.
He has been an outstanding novice hurdler and now chaser, who looks the ideal Gold Cup horse. He jumps, travels and stays well but also has that little bit of added class that should make all the difference.
He probably wasn't at his best when winning the Brown Advisory but still did it head in chest and his previous victory at Leopardstown marked him down as a star of the future. I'll be disappointed if he doesn't win the big one next year.
Graeme Rodway, tipster
'He looks out of the ordinary'
It's Monkfish for me. Minella Indo was an impressive winner, boasts Cheltenham Festival form figures of 121 and was unlucky when mugged by Champ in the RSA last year, but Monkfish looks very much out of the ordinary.
His Brown Advisory Novices' Chase success this week was labelled workmanlike by some, but he recorded a higher Racing Post Rating than Champ and Minella Indo the previous year with Paul Townend feeling he was idling and not concentrating on the first circuit.
An end-to-end Gold Cup gallop will suit him ideally and he is 2-2 at the festival having shown great courage to win the Albert Bartlett in 2020. He's a deserved market leader at this very early stage.
Jack Haynes, reporter
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