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Minella definitely has chance to shine at Wincanton

By Frank Brownlow

Ulster trainer Neil Mulholland has high hopes for Minella Definitely at Wincanton today.

Minella Definitely can follow up a Wincanton Boxing Day success with victory in the Lin Moore Big Birthday Celebration Novices Limited Handicap Chase.

The eight-year-old finished six lengths clear in what was a competitive event on December 26 and should surely be capable of building on that.

Mulholland, from Glenavy and now based in Wiltshire, believes Minella Definitely is not one to be rushed and his patience has paid dividends as he has won three of his last four outings.

"I haven't had many runners this month due to the heavy ground but thankfully whatever has run has run well," Mulholland commented.

"There is plenty of excitement around the yard as the big festivals are fast approaching which thankfully look like we will be participating in."

Unioniste, the ante-post favourite for the Betfred Grand National Trial, will not run in the race.

The recent Sandown winner, trained by Paul Nicholls, had been handed 11st 11lb for the Grade Three race on February 14, which falls before the cut off for the weights for this year's Crabbie's Grand National on April 11.

But the champion trainer will rely on another of his entries instead with Unioniste being aimed at the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on February 7.

"Unioniste won't run," Nicholls confirmed. "He will run in the Denman Chase at Newbury. Benvolio runs instead."

Gigginstown's First Lieutenant has been given top weight for the trial on 11st 12lb, with the Kim Bailey-trained Harry Topper the only other horse from the 42 entries to be allotted over 11st.

Benvolio, 10-1 second favourite before the news of Unioniste's absence broke, has been given 10st 11lb. Of the other principles, recent winner Samstown and the Michael Scudamore-trained Monbeg Dude are both on 10st 10lb.

Unioniste has also been entered in the Grade Three BetBright Chase at Kempton on February 21.

The race has received 45 entries, with Fingal Bay, Rajdhani Express and Rocky Creek among the possibles.

Greatest Journey, ridden by Alistair Rawlinson and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, won last night's Kempton feature, the 32Red Casino Handicap.

Frederik Tylicki rode Pretty Bubbles to victory in the chief support, the Handicap.


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