Jumps Season - At The Races

Gordon Elliott Stable Tour

    The County Meath maestro won many accolades last term including a second consecutive Grand National with Tiger Roll who bids for a hat-trick in 2020.
  • Features

Very few National Hunt trainers in Ireland have risen up the ranks as quickly as Gordon Elliott. Having burst onto the scene by saddling Silver Birch to win the Grand National at Aintree in 2007, at which point he had not trained a single winner in Ireland, he was firmly established as a top five trainer by 2010/11.

He soon emerged as the biggest challenger to the dominance of Willie Mullins and made him pull out all the stops in the trainers’ championship in both 2016/17 and 2017/18, saddling a remarkable 210 winners in Ireland in the latter campaign. While he came up just short of Mullins in the championship on those occasions, he did have the satisfaction of being crowned the leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival in both 2017 and 2018.

Last season saw Elliott secure multiple accolades, but without question the highlight of his campaign was the remarkable achievements of Tiger Roll. Not only did he gain his second win in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he made history by becoming the first horse since Red Rum to win two Grand Nationals on a day that will never be forgotten at Aintree.

With Elliott having perhaps his strongest-ever team to go to war with, he spoke to attheraces.com’s Kevin Blake to tell us about their prospects.

All Horses

Abacadabras (FR)

Form Profile:

Made a winning debut in a bumper at Galway last season and went on to run well without winning in Graded bumpers, including when second in the Grade 1 bumper at the Punchestown Festival. He made a winning hurdling debut at Gowran Park in October.

Trainer Says:

I think he was unlucky not to win a Grade 1 bumper last season. He was very free all the way at Cheltenham which ended up costing him, then he got boxed in at Punchestown and was a bit unlucky there. He won his first start over hurdles nicely enough at Gowran Park, but his jumping was a bit novicey there, so we’ve been doing a lot of schooling with him since. He’ll step up in class now and the For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan on November 10th would be an obvious option.

Video Form
27 Oct 2018:

Andy Dufresne

Form Profile:

Made a winning debut in a point-to-point at Borris House in March prior to changing hands for £330,000 a week later. He made an impressive winning start for Elliott in a bumper at Down Royal in Down Royal in January.

Trainer Says:

He’s in good form and we will look to start him off in the maiden hurdle in the next couple of weeks. He looked very good in his bumper and we didn’t run him again as the ground was always a bit quick for him. He’s horse we think a good bit of. I don’t think he’ll want any further than two-and-a-half miles and he’ll probably be fine at two miles.

Apple's Jade (FR)

Form Profile:

A 162-rated hurdler, she is a 10-time Grade 1 winner over hurdles that most recently won the Irish Champion Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival in great style.

Trainer Says:

She’s in good form and has a few bits of work done already. We’ll look to send her down a similar road to last season, starting her off the in Lismullen Hurdle at Navan, then on to the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse and then onto Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting. She hasn’t been as good after Christmas for the last couple of years. We did everything we could to control her cycle in the spring last season, but she still wasn’t quite herself. She had a breathing operation over the summer months that will hopefully be a help to her. She has been brilliant for us and it would be great to win a couple of more races with her.

Video Form
28 Dec 2018:
2 Dec 2018:
11 Nov 2018:
28 Apr 2018:
28 Dec 2017:

Battleoverdoyen

Form Profile:

A 144-rated novice hurdler, he has won a point-to-point, a bumper and two of his three starts over hurdles including the Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle at Naas in January.

Trainer Says:

I’m happy with him and he is going to school over fences after racing at Punchestown today (Wednesday). He should be ready to start off in a maiden chase soon. He was one of mine that didn’t have a good experience at Cheltenham in March, as he didn’t travel, eat or drink as well as we would have liked, and he ran very disappointingly in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. I’d be confident he’ll prove that run to be all wrong and I’m exciting to see what he can do over fences. He looks a three-miler in the making

Video Form
16 Dec 2018:
28 Nov 2018:

Bigbadandbeautiful

  • 5-y-o; mare
  • Breeding: Big Bad Bob - Playing Around (Act One)
  • Owner: Andrew Bedford
  • Last Race: Gowran Park, 4 Oct 2019 17:30
  • Result: Won/18, held up in rear, good headway on outer 4f out, ridden in close 3rd on outer 2f out, soon 2nd, headway to lead inside final furlong, stayed on well close home
  • View full form
Form Profile:

The winner of two of her four starts in bumpers including a Listed mares’ bumper at Gowran Park in October.

Trainer Says:

She’s an exciting mare. She doesn’t show anything at home, but has been impressive on the track, especially at Gowran Park last time. The plan is to go for the Listed mares’ bumper at Navan on November 24th and then go novice hurdling after that.

Video Form
8 Dec 2018:

Champagne Classic (IRE)

Form Profile:

A 146-rated chaser, he returned from over 18 months off the track to finish third in a Grade 3 novice chase at Naas in January and followed it up with a close second in a Grade 2 novice chase at Navan in February. He made a winning return to action in a maiden chase at Fairyhouse in October.

Trainer Says:

I was very happy with his performance at Fairyhouse the other day. He was very professional and just did what he had to do. I’d imagine he’ll head for the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse, but he’s off the right sort of rating for those valuable staying handicap chases too, so they’ll be considered for him. He’s one that could end up in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Video Form
26 Apr 2017:
23 Feb 2017:
9 Feb 2017:
25 Jan 2017:
26 Dec 2016:

Column Of Fire

Form Profile:

The winner of a bumper at Navan in November, he acquitted himself well without winning in two starts in maiden hurdles last season.

Trainer Says:

He has experience over hurdles already and will run in a maiden hurdle in the next couple of weeks. He looks a staying chaser in the making, so we we’ll look after him a bit this season, as he still has some strengthening to do. He’s a horse I think will do well in time.

Video Form
15 Dec 2018:
1 Dec 2018:
11 Nov 2018:
24 Apr 2018:

Dallas Des Pictons (FR)

Form Profile:

A 144-rated hurdler, he made a winning chasing debut at Gowran Park in October.

Trainer Says:

He won at Gowran Park the other day, but it was an egg-and-spoon race that was very messy for him. He’s a horse that wants to get a lead and he jammed on in front a couple of times as it was basically a solo schooling session in the end. I’ll try to find a winner’s race over fences for him before we go for the Drinmore Novice Chase.

Video Form
26 Dec 2018:
10 Nov 2018:

Daylight Katie (FR)

  • 6-y-o; bay mare
  • Breeding: Bonbon Rose - Sirani (Kapgarde)
  • Owner: Coldunell Limited
  • Last Race: Down Royal, 1 Nov 2019 13:10
  • Result: Won/7, tracked leaders in 3rd, slight mistake 4th, headway into 2nd travelling well when bad mistake 3 out, led before next, ridden and joined 2 out, led at last, stayed on well under pressure inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer, she won a bumper at Gowran Park in February prior to finishing in the frame in Graded mares’ bumper at Aintree and Punchestown later in the season. She made a winning seasonal and hurdling debut in a maiden at Fairyhouse in October.

Trainer Says:

She was very good in a maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse the other day and I think she’s an exciting mare. She showed a high level of form in bumpers last season and I think she could be even better over hurdles. She’ll go to Down Royal for the Grade 3 mares’ novice hurdle on November 1st. She looks a two-miler to me.

Video Form
31 Dec 2018:
10 Nov 2018:

Delta Work (FR)

  • 6-y-o; brown gelding
  • Breeding: Network - Robbe (Video Rock)
  • Owner: Gigginstown House Stud
  • Last Race: Down Royal, 2 Nov 2019 14:25
  • Result: 4/5, held up in touch behind leaders, mistakes 7th and 11th, mistake 3 out and dropped to last briefly, soon ridden, under pressure in 4th 2 out, no impression, 4th and mistake at last
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 163-rated chaser, he won four of his five starts in novice chases last season including three Grade 1 races.

Trainer Says:

He was brilliant for us last season, winning three Grade 1 novice chases. We were all a bit annoyed with ourselves after he was beaten in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. At the time of the race, the meeting wasn’t going great for our horses or our jockey and between us we probably didn’t have enough confidence in the horse. On another day, with different riding instructions, I think he might have won. We approached his run at the Punchestown Festival with a much more positive mindset and he produced his best effort of the season in victory there. We are going to train him for the Cheltenham Gold Cup this season and the plan is to start back in the Kauto Star Chase at Down Royal on November 2nd. I think he has all the tools to be a top-class staying chaser in open company.

Video Form
29 Dec 2018:
2 Dec 2018:
2 Nov 2018:
25 Apr 2018:
21 Feb 2018:

Envoi Allen (FR)

Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer for his previous connections, he won all four of his starts in bumpers for Elliott in impressive style last season including the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Says:

He’s in very good form and is ready to start off in a maiden hurdle. He put together a serious campaign in bumpers last season and I think he has got a lot stronger over the summer. If you watch him in his bumpers last season, he looked in serious trouble a couple of times, but just ground it out to win. I think stepping up to two-and-a-half miles over hurdles will be a help to him as he’ll probably be travelling at a gallop that is a bit closer to his comfort zone. You’d have to be very excited about him.

Video Form
16 Dec 2018:
2 Dec 2018:

Felix Desjy (FR)

  • 6-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Maresca Sorrento - Lamadoun (Smadoun)
  • Owner: Gigginstown House Stud
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 30 Apr 2019 16:20
  • Result: 2/6, led, inclined to jump left, joined 2 out, soon headed and no impression, kept on same pace
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 152-rated hurdler, he won three of his eight starts over hurdles last season including the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree in April.

Trainer Says:

He was ready to run, but he’s after pulling muscles and that will delay his return for a while. We are going to see how he is in the next few weeks, but I reckon that if we can’t get him back to start off over fences before Christmas, we might end up leaving him over hurdles for this season. It all depends on how quickly he comes back from this setback.

Video Form
26 Dec 2018:
25 Nov 2018:
11 Nov 2018:
27 Oct 2018:
25 Apr 2018:

Festival D'ex (FR)

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Saddler Maker - Une D'ex (Brier Creek)
  • Owner: John F Doyle
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 30 Apr 2019 18:05
  • Result: Won/19, waited with, soon towards rear, improved into moderate 2nd approaching straight, closed and led under 2f out, quickly asserted and stayed on well
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Made an impressive winning debut in the valuable Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown Festival in April.

Trainer Says:

I was delighted with what he did in the Land Rover Bumper. He doesn’t show much at home, but he showed at Punchestown that he has loads on ability. He has never really looked a bumper horse, so we are looking forward to getting him over hurdles this season. Two-and-a-half miles should suit him well and he’ll be ready to start off soon.

Malone Road

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Kalanisi - Zaffarella (Zaffaran)
  • Owner: Cheveley Park Stud
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 18 Nov 2018 15:55
  • Result: Won/8, disputed lead early, soon raced in 3rd, 2nd under 4f out, pushed along before straight, led 2f out, asserted and stayed on well from over 1f out, easily
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Changed hands for £325,000 after winning a point-to-point and impressed in winning both his starts in bumpers last season prior to a setback ending his campaign prematurely.

Trainer Says:

He’s back in good form and he’s going to do a bit of work after racing at Punchestown today (Wednesday). We are considering starting him back in a winners’ bumper at Down Royal or Punchestown before sending him novice hurdling, but he might just go straight over hurdles. He’s moving really well and looks in great shape. He could go a bit further, but he’s always looked pacey and I wouldn’t be surprised if two miles is his trip.

Video Form
18 Nov 2018:
3 Nov 2018:

Samcro

Form Profile:

A 160-rated hurdler, he won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018 and looked one of the most exciting hurdlers in training coming into this campaign, but proved disappointing in three starts last season amid health issues.

Trainer Says:

We couldn’t get him to scope right all last season, but he’s scoping clean now and looks in great order. We’ve tried a few different things with him this season. He had a breathing operation over the summer and we constructed a new stable for him which allows him free access to an outdoor enclosure. He seems to be enjoying that. The plan is to school him over fences after racing at Punchestown today (Wednesday) and all being well we’ll start him off in a maiden chase over two-and-a-half miles at Down Royal on November 1st. I know he was disappointing last season, but he had a good excuse for it and didn’t have a hard season as we pulled stumps with him early on. It might have been a blessing in disguise that he didn’t go chasing last season, as the ground would have been plenty quick for him all season. I’d still retain plenty of faith in him and I’m excited by him.

Video Form
29 Dec 2018:
1 Dec 2018:
2 Nov 2018:
27 Apr 2018:
4 Feb 2018:

Thatsy (FR)

Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer, he won a bumper at Navan in February and finished second on his seasonal and hurdling debut at Galway in October.

Trainer Says:

He’s a nice horse. He was beaten on his first start over hurdles, but he gave a blow and just got tired that day. He should be all the better for the run. I might well bring him back to two miles, as he jumps well and has plenty of pace. I wouldn’t be surprise if he progresses into a Graded horse over hurdles.

The Very Man

Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer prior to changing hands for £210,000, he made a winning start for his new connections in a bumper at Navan in December, but disappointing on his only other start at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival. He fell when holding every chance on his hurdling debut at Punchestown in October.

Trainer Says:

He was very good when winning a bumper at Navan and I wouldn’t judge him on what he did on his next start at Fairyhouse as he was lame afterwards. I was expecting him to run very well on his hurdling debut at Punchestown today and he looked to still have a chance when falling at the last. Hopefully he’ll be fine in the morning and we can give him another chance at one. He should improve from the run and there should be plenty more to come from him. He might be more of a two miler.

Video Form
8 Dec 2018:

Tiger Roll (IRE)

  • 9-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Authorized - Swiss Roll (Entrepreneur)
  • Owner: Gigginstown House Stud
  • Last Race: Aintree, 6 Apr 2019 17:15
  • Result: Won/40, held up in mid-division, tracked leaders 22nd (2nd bechers), pecked 26th, close 3rd going well 3 out, soon poised to challenge, led last, pushed clear before elbow, ridden out, stayed on well
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 172-rated chaser, he has won the last two renewals of both the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National.

Trainer Says:

Tiger Roll is in great form and he’s cantering away. I don’t think I’ll start him off until Christmas this season. We went to Cheltenham a bit earlier than that last season and he came back a bit sore from it, so we might just take our time with him and aim to start him off in a hurdle race at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting. From there it’ll be onto the Boyne Hurdle, the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National. He’s a celebrity now and he’s had a busy summer with appearances and all that celebrity stuff! He looks great and I’m very happy with him. We’ll try not to burden him with too many expectations this season, as he has already done so much, but you’d like to think he’d be the one to beat in the Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham if he turns up in half the form that he did last season.

Video Form
16 Nov 2017:
30 Oct 2017:
19 Oct 2017:
17 Apr 2017:

Vision D'honneur (FR)

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Vision D'etat - Hembra (Croco Rouge)
  • Owner: Gigginstown House Stud
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 1 May 2019 16:55
  • Result: F/8, mid-division, 4th halfway, headway to dispute lead before 2 out, pushed along and headed entering straight, soon ridden and no impression on winner approaching last, moderate 2nd when fell last
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 142-rated hurdler, he won a maiden hurdle at Punchestown in January and went on to finish third in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Trainer Says:

The plan is to go novice chasing with him, but he missed a bit of time after pulling muscles and probably won’t be ready to run until Christmas. He was a bit disappointing last season, but he was another one of ours that was particularly inconvenienced by the lack of soft ground last season. He’s had a breathing operation over the summer too, so hopefully a combination of that and softer ground will help him deliver on what he has promised us in the past. We’ll probably start him off over two miles, but I could see him stepping up to two-and-a-half miles later in the season.

Video Form
26 Dec 2018:

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