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Dublin: 8°C Sunday 18 April 2021

De Bromhead-trained Monalee set to race against Gold Cup favourite this weekend

Balko des Flos, meanwhile, is being rested ahead of a bid for back-to-back Ryanair Chase wins.

Monalee with jockey David Mullins at Cheltenham in 2017.
Monalee with jockey David Mullins at Cheltenham in 2017.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

MONALEE, WHO WAS beaten by seven lengths when second to Presenting Percy in the RSA Chase last season, is set to again take on the Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite in the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday.

A Grade 1 winner over 2m 5f at Leopardstown last season, the Henry de Bromhead-trained eight-year-old ran second to Kemboy in the Savills Chase on his most recent start.

Monalee is an 8-1 shot for the Ryanair Chase and as big as 33-1 for the Gold Cup and De Bromhead said: “Monalee was declared to run in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown earlier this month, but we took him out as we thought the ground was too quick.

He seems in good form and the plan is to run him in the Red Mills as we’re keen to get a run into him before Cheltenham.”

According to De Bromhead, Balko Des Flos, winner of the Ryanair Chase last year, will not run again before bidding for back-to-back wins next month.

Balko Des Flos finished only ninth in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December and his trainer said:

“He’s a horse who has run well fresh in the past and not running him between Christmas and Cheltenham worked out well for us last season.”

Brian Fleming

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