Jonjo O’Neill wants to try something new with Annie Mc and Minella Rocco.
The trainer from Jackdaws Castle plans races for the duo that are in very different phases of their careers.
Annie Mc, a favorite of Love Island’s Chris Hughes, is two of two fences and seems to like a jumping competition.
In the meantime, former Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco has not won for some time.
He will try to bring his head forward again in the hunter’s hunting sphere.
Coach Jonjo O’Neill
(Image: Getty Images)
“There is a race in Exeter for Annie Mc in a few weeks where she would have a double penalty against the gelding,” said O’Neill.
“She would get the 7 pound mares allowance from the boys, so it’s really only 3 pounds extra.
“We could go this way.”
In March, it would be four years since Minella Rocco won the national chase at the festival under Derek O’Connor before chasing Sizing John home for the most coveted prize at the 2017 meeting.
Minella Rocco and Derek O’Connor in Cheltenham in 2016
O’Neill is waiting to hear if the Irishman is free to ride the 10-year-old next week.
“Hopefully Minella Rocco will run in the chase of the warwicks in Warwick on Wednesday,” said O’Neill.
“He is fine at home, he always does.
“Touch wood, it stays healthy, so keep your fingers crossed for it.
“Derek (O’Connor) is offered the ride if he can do it.
“I hope he can.
“He’s working on sales and it’s Doncaster next week, so we have to see if he’s available.”
The all-powerful Willoughby De Broke Open Hunters’ Chase stud on January 22 has only six entries, but Minella Rocco’s potential rivals include last year’s Foxhunters winner Hazel Hill and his hopeful 2020 colleague Bob And Co.