Minella Rocco on Irish Gold trail

Jonjo O'Neill is eyeing a tilt at the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown with Minella Rocco.

Minella Rocco On Irish Gold Cup trail

Winner of the National Hunt Chase at last season's Cheltenham Festival, the seven-year-old returned to Prestbury Park for his seasonal reappearance in November, finishing third in a well-contested long-distance handicap.

The JP McManus-owned Minella Rocco looked to be coming off second best in a battle with Grand National hero Many Clouds when falling at the final fence at Aintree last month.

But a rematch could be on the cards in the world's most famous steeplechase if he comes through his Irish assignment on February 12 unscathed.

O'Neill said: "He has come out of Aintree well and the physio has helped sort him out.

"He has now filled his frame and strengthened up. He is a great horse to have.

"The plan at the moment is to go for the Irish Gold Cup in the middle of February. We will then make a plan after that regarding Cheltenham and Aintree.

"He could be a National horse and that is the way I'd be going, I think."

The Jackdaws Castle handler accepts More Of That may no longer be the horse he was once.

Hopes were high prior to the start of this season he could recapture past glories, with a tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup mentioned.

However, he was bitterly disappointing on his reappearance in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Prestbury Park, and could only finish third in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

He was also well beaten on his latest appearance in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.

O'Neill said: "We thought he was in great form at the start of the season but things have not quite gone right.

"He ran OK in Ireland. If he was right he would pick them up and carry them, but he is probably not the same horse any more.

"Plans are up in the air as to where he will run next."

More Of That finished sixth in the Lexus, one place behind stable companion Taquin Du Seuil.

O'Neill said of the latter: "To be fair, he ran OK in Ireland as well.

"He did make a few mistakes and he maybe found the ground a bit on the quick side. He is better on slower ground.

"One of the plans with him is to go for the Cotswold Chase at the end of the month, then we will make a plan as to which way he goes at the Festival.

"He will be entered in everything and we will keep our options open."

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