Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco returns to Cheltenham

Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco will return to Prestbury Park later this month in a bid to get his season back on track.

The 2016 National Hunt Chase hero ran a fantastic race to chase home Sizing John in the blue riband last March and was a hot favourite to make a successful reappearance in last month’s Irish Daily Star Chase at Punchestown.

However, the JP McManus-owned seven-year-old could only finish fourth behind Noel Meade’s Road To Respect and he is set to have his sights lowered for the Grade Three Handicap Chase on November 18, a race in which he finished third 12 months ago.

Trainer Jonjo O’Neil said: “He is going to Cheltenham for the next meeting for the three-mile-three handicap there and we will take it from there.

“He ran disappointingly in Ireland. He probably needed the run a bit to be fair.

“He was a bit flat, but then Outlander ran flat in it (finished sixth) and he ran a cracker on Saturday (won Champion Chase at Down Royal). “