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This 125-1 tip for Cheltenham and Grand National has Ruby Walsh's backing

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THE huge 125-1 odds for this former Gold Cup hero to make it two from two this year are worth a small punt.

Heck, even Ruby Walsh is throwing his weight behind Minella Indo to win again at Cheltenham Festival two years after he claimed racing’s most prestigous prize.

Minella Indo is classy enough to win a Gold Cup and can have a new lease of life over new fences and a new trip

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Minella Indo is classy enough to win a Gold Cup and can have a new lease of life over new fences and a new tripCredit: PA

And I think the 11-year-old has what it takes to make a splash in the Grand National too, should connections decide to go for it.

Minella Indo was impressive on his first spin over the Cross Country fences at Cheltenham last month.

Giving 20lbs to winner Latenightpass, Minella Indo and Rachael Blackmore only just lost third on the run-in having been sent off 7-1 for the 3m5½f grueller over 30 fences.

Galvin, carrying 3lbs less than Minella Indo and runner-up in last year’s Cross Country, was a further three-and-a-half lengths behind.

They’ll all be off level weights in the Cross Country at the Festival, but Galvin doesn’t have Minella Indo’s class.

He won a Savills Chase but that race is a stepping stone to the Gold Cup and with Minella Indo likely to have improvement to come, there’s only one to side with at their current odds of 5-1.

Gordon Elliott’s other runners Delta Work (best price 4-1) and Conflated (7-2 fav) are clear chances.

But, like Walsh, I reckon this race is ripe for Henry de Bromhead’s newcomer, especially with Conflated having the Irish Gold Cup up next.

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Speaking on Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Walsh said: “I thought dropping in grade to a Cross Country race, going a mile an hour slower, I thought Minella Indo jumped really well and with a big weight, he came home well.

“With Galvin’s couple of runs over the jumps, Minella Indo’s first time, I thought there was improvement there and Gordon has a brilliant record at Cheltenham, but so does Henry.

“Henry turns horses up year in, year out in great form at Cheltenham and I’d be willing to side with him.”

De Bromhead suggested the Grand National could be on the agenda after Minella indo won a Punchestown Grade 3 last October.

To me, referencing a race six months out – even if he did only say it’s ‘something to discuss’ – indicates it’s in their heads.

Minella Indo will likely get cut from his best-price 50s even if he doesn’t win the Cross Country.

Slashing the Aintree race to 34 winners from 40 – one of many changes – means it will be restricted to a higher calibre of runners now.

There may not be such a huge gulf in weights and now at 157, Minella Indo is lower than previous winners Corach Rambler (159) and Noble Yeats (166).

I don’t think never having raced at Aintree is a huge negative.

We know he can jump, is unexposed over the monster trip and the race has been in De Bromhead’s mind for a while.

Sky are offering 125-1 on Minella Indo to win the Cross Country and Grand National.

Corach Rambler did the Cheltenham-Aintree double last year.

If Minella Indo does the business in March it will be a fun slip to have in your pocket for the second Saturday in April.

But if you don’t feel so adventurous you can do Minella Indo to place in the Cross Country (3 places, Cheltenham Festival) & Aintree Grand National (4 places) in 2024 at 15-2.

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