The six-year-old Malinas mare, returned at 11-2, moved up into a challenging position on the final turn for home in the extended three miles and three furlongs Premier Handicap chase.
With the longtime leader Cloudy Glen firmly in his sights, Flanagan timed his challenge perfectly as his mount took the lead two fences from home. The result was never in doubt thereafter, as Malina Girl galloped on resolutely to score by 10 lengths.
Louise Bodily, niece of winning owner Jackie Russell, said: “That was a fantastic result. Stamina was never going to be an issue and she always wears her heart on her sleeve.
“We knew when she was coming towards the last that she had it in the bag. Sean (Flanagan) had sat back and waited on her then you could see coming down to the last she was ready for it.
“It is great to be here, and it is great for my aunt to have a winner here and to be able to represent her.
“The Grand National hasn’t yet been mentioned, but it looks like the mare could do it the way she has stayed there. She makes the jumping look easy, so who knows it could be a race she is aimed at.
“Sean was really pleased with her. She took him there well and carried him over the line as she knew what she was doing. She just ran over hurdles last time just to get her fitness up for today.”
Whoooooosh! 🚀— Racing TV (@RacingTV) November 19, 2023
Malina Girl streaks clear up the hill to plunder yet another big @CheltenhamRaces pot for Irish trainer @gavincromwell1.
It's fair to say the return to fences paid off!@swflanagan7 | @Jewson pic.twitter.com/D6qlNKcGeQ