Gordon Elliott Says Minella Crooner Will Miss Cheltenham

Published 2022/03/14

Gordon Elliott Says Minella Crooner Will Miss Cheltenham

It’s always disappointing when one of our favourite racehorses is out of action, but never more so than when it happens before a big event like Cheltenham. That’s the case for Minella Crooner, whose fans and connections have been left dispirited by a pulled muscle.

While trainer Gordon Elliott has released a statement saying the horse’s injuries are nothing serious, they mean the Albert Bartlett favourite has had to be withdrawn from the upcoming contest.

A pulled muscle spells disaster

Many bookmakers - online and off - offer attractive odds on the horse racing market, so it's no surprise that settling on a particular bookie is a difficult prospect for most bettors. That's why several sportsbook directory sites have felt compelled to produce guides dedicated to ranking the contenders.

Criterion such as the quality of customer service is measured to highlight the best value for money and to signpost bookies that could learn from the examples of their peers. That applies to Cheltenham Festival betting offers too, with options galore to explore.

Unfortunately, though, one runner you won’t be able to bet on is the Albert Bartlett favourite Minella Crooner. The Elliott Gordon-trained horse has had to pull out at the last minute due to an injury, leaving many disappointed.

The handsome bay had been the ante-post favourite for the Novices Hurdle but recently suffered a pulled muscle that’s disbarred him from the competition. While the injury has been described as “nothing serious”, it’s nonetheless come too close to the Festival to allow sufficient time for recovery.

According to Elliott, the gelding should only have to miss a few days of work, with the hope being that the Grade 1 runner-up will be fighting fit again in time for the spring festivals.

A favourite withdrawn

Right until his withdrawal was announced, Minella Cooper had continued to vie for favourite in the Albert Bartlett with Hillcrest, with some bookies awarding him odds of 3-1 to claim victory.

Luckily for Gordon, Minella Crooner’s injury doesn’t spell the end of his Cheltenham hopes, with two runners still entered: Ginto, at 7-2, and Hollow Games at a more conservative 10-1.

The horse’s injury raises some interesting questions concerning how it will affect the race – not just its outcome but its entrants too. For instance, with the favourite withdrawn, many have speculated as to whether Henry Daly might be convinced to commit to Hillcrest rather than holding him back until Aintree as expected.

While Hillcrest would seem the one to beat, however, following his impressive win at Haydock, others argue that Daly is unlikely to run him just 27 days after his previous outing.

Even if he does, we’d still caution against counting Elliott’s runners out, with Hollow Games, in particular, seeming like a horse who could surprise us, especially over a longer distance.

When it comes to calling the winner of the Albert Bartlett, Minella Crooner’s absence has blown the field wide open. Where he previously seemed like an obvious victor, there are now several interesting contenders, many of them similarly matched. Who crosses the finish line first on the day is now impossible to call, but we can’t wait to watch the action unfold.