Jumps Season - At The Races

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Gordon Elliott Stable Tour

    The County Meath maestro takes the wraps of his runners who can plunder the big prizes in the new National Hunt season.
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The rise of Gordon Elliott has been one of the biggest stories in all of National Hunt racing in the last couple of decades.

Starting from right at the bottom of the training ranks, he announced his intentions 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 quickly showed that beginner’s luck played no role in that success, as his relentless ambition saw him soon emerge as the biggest challenger to the dominance of Willie Mullins. Indeed, he made Mullins pull out all the stops in the trainers’ championship in both 2016/17 and 2017/18, training 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. Another highly notable feat of Elliott’s was his training of Tiger Roll to become the first horse since Red Rum to win two Grand Nationals.

Gigginstown House Stud’s announcement in May 2019 that they would not be buying new horses and gradually phasing out their involvement in National Hunt racing was seen as a major blow to Elliott, but he has rallied in response, expanding his ownership base in a very significant way. The result of this is that many of the very best prospects from Irish point-to-points in the last year have been bought to join Elliott.

With Elliott looking to have a very strong team for the season ahead, he spoke to attheraces.com’s Kevin Blake to tell us about their prospects.

All Horses

Abacadabras (FR)

Form Profile:

A 158-rated hurdler, he has won three of his five starts over hurdles including the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting. He most recently finished a head second in Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Says:

He’s in great order and the plan is to start him off in the Grade 2 hurdle at Down Royal later this month. I thought he ran a huge race in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season and might just have got there a little bit too soon. His jumping improved with experience all through last season and hopefully he’ll be even sharper this season. We’ll keep him to two miles and the hope is that he’ll progress into a Champion Hurdle horse.

Video Form
27 Oct 2018:

Andy Dufresne

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Doyen - Daytona Lily (Beneficial)
  • Owner: Mr John P McManus
  • Last Race: Leopardstown, 7 Feb 2021 15:10
  • Result: 3/8, chased leaders, disputed 2nd from 6 out, 3rd 3 out, ridden and no impression after 2 out, kept on same pace from before last
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 145-rated hurdler, he won two of his four starts as a novice hurdler last season including the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in January.

Trainer Says:

We are sending him novice chasing. His schooling over fences has been very good and we’ll start him off in a maiden chase in the coming weeks. He didn’t quite finish off last season as well as we’d liked him to have, but we looked after him and he’s a much stronger horse this season. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet and I’m looking forward to seeing him over a fence.

Ballyadam (IRE)

Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer, he made it second-time lucky in bumpers when winning at Downpatrick in March.

Trainer Says:

It’s no secret that we’ve always liked this fella a lot. The ground was too testing for him on his debut at Navan, but it was good to see him win so well at Downpatrick on his second start. We’ll start him off in a maiden hurdle at Down Royal at the end of the month and we’re looking forward to him. He’s a horse with plenty of pace, so we’ll start him off at two miles and play it by ear from there.

Battleoverdoyen (IRE)

Form Profile:

A 152-rated chaser, he won three of his four completed starts in novice chases last season including a Grade 1 at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

Trainer Says:

We haven’t made a final decision with this fella, but I’d be very interested to see what he’s do if we dropped him right back in trip to two miles. The Fortria Chase at Navan is an option. He travelled over to Cheltenham better this year than he did last year, but I thought he just didn’t get the trip in the RSA Chase and a drop in distance might just suit him.

Video Form
16 Dec 2018:
28 Nov 2018:

Column Of Fire (IRE)

Form Profile:

A 145-rated hurdler, he won a maiden hurdle at Punchestown in January and looked set to go very close in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival only to fall at the final flight.

Trainer Says:

He looked like he was going to win the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham before he fell. He was lame after that fall and it took him a fair bit of time to come right. He’s back in full work now, but it will probably be closer to Christmas before he gets back to the track. We’ll aim him at big handicap hurdles again and on his Cheltenham form he looks well handicapped.

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

Delta Work (FR)

Form Profile:

A 170-rated chaser, he has won six of his nine starts over fences including the Savills Chase and the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last season.

Trainer Says:

He looks great and is moving very well. We’re looking to start him off in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal. It won’t be a shock if he’s beaten, as he always seems to come on from his first run of the season and improve with racing. It’s a strange one, as he isn’t a big massive horse that you’d expect to need his first run, but for whatever reason it always seems to be the case with him. Jack Kennedy gets a particularly good tune out of him and we’d love him to be on him, but that’s out of our hands and all we do is cross our fingers that he’ll be back in time from his injury to ride him.

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

Envoi Allen (FR)

Form Profile:

A 160-rated hurdler, he is unbeaten in a point-to-point, four starts in bumpers and four starts over hurdles. He won three Grade 1 novice hurdles last season including the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Says:

He goes novice chasing and is obviously hugely exciting. The intention is to start him off in a maiden chase at Down Royal later this month. At the minute I’m thinking that we’ll keep him to mid-range trips in the main this season. While he would have a chance of being a top-class hurdler if we left him over them, we probably stayed over hurdles for too long with Samcro and I don’t want to make that mistake again. He was bought to be a Gold Cup horse and that’s what we are going to give him the chance to be. We were happy with him when he came back in from his break, but he’s a horse that seems to do better in work than out of work. We can’t wait to see him back on track.

Video Form
16 Dec 2018:
2 Dec 2018:

Eskylane (IRE)

Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer, he won a bumper at Navan in January prior to finishing fifth in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Says:

He made a winning hurdling debut at Punchestown earlier today and I was very happy with him. He jumped well, idled up the run-in and had a good blow afterwards, so you’d have to be delighted with what he did. His bumper form entitles him to be a Graded novice hurdler and we’ll probably go straight into that sort of company with him next time. He should stay two-and-a-half miles.

Fiston Des Issards (FR)

  • 6-y-o; gelding
  • Breeding: Buck's Boum - Saboum (Robin Des Champs)
  • Owner: Noel Moran & Mrs Valerie Moran
  • Last Race: Fairyhouse, 28 Nov 2020 15:21
  • Result: 5/7, tracked leaders, went 2nd 6f out, ridden 3f out, 5th 2f out, no impression
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Made a winning debut in a point-to-point at Loughanmore in October prior to changing hands for £255,000.

Trainer Says:

He’s a lovely big horse that came well recommended from a great nursery in Colin Bowe’s. We’ll keep him to bumpers this season and you’d have to hope he might win a couple along the way.

Fury Road (IRE)

Form Profile:

A 151-rated hurdler, he won three of his five starts over hurdles and most recently finished a close third in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Says:

We are going to stay hurdling with him. There is a race at Navan in a few weeks for him and that’s likely to be where he starts off. Gigginstown have a lot of horses to go novice chasing and the staying hurdle division looks a bit light, so that’s the thinking behind keeping this horse over hurdles.”

Video Form
26 Dec 2018:

Galvin (IRE)

Form Profile:

A 148-rated chaser, he finished second in the Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March and has since won all three of his starts over fences including a Grade 3 novice contest at Tipperary in October.

Trainer Says:

Our plan is to run him in a Grade 3 novice chase at Cork in early-November and then put him away with a view to sending him straight to the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He has an ideal profile for the race, and we are all happy for him to go down that route.

Video Form
26 Jul 2018:
10 Jul 2018:

Gars De Sceaux (FR)

  • 5-y-o; gelding
  • Breeding: Saddler Maker - Replique (April Night)
  • Owner: John P McManus
  • Last Race: Navan, 29 Jan 2021 13:25
  • Result: Won/20, tracked leaders, 3rd halfway, on terms 3 out, soon pushed along, mistake 2 out, ridden to lead when not fluent last, narrowly headed early run-in, stayed on well under pressure to lead again post
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Made a winning debut in a point-to-point at Borris House in March prior to joining Elliott.

Trainer Says:

He looked a lovely horse when he won his point-to-point and we’ve been happy with him since he joined us. He’ll likely start off in a bumper, but jumping will be his game.

Grand Roi (FR)

Form Profile:

A 140-rated hurdler, he won three of his four starts when trained by Nicky Henderson last season and subsequently changed hands for £400,000

Trainer Says:

He isn’t a flashy horse at home, but in fairness to Nicky he did tell us before he came here that he doesn’t show much, so we aren’t panicking. There is a Grade 3 hurdle at Galway next week that looks like a good starting point for him. After that, we’ll look at the Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas in mid-November. We’ll keep him hurdling this season.

Video Form
23 Jan 2020:

Hollow Games (IRE)

Form Profile:

Made a winning debut in a point-to-point at Turtulla in March prior to changing hands for £255,000.

Trainer Says:

He’s a lovely big horse. He is a real galloper that will handle testing ground. He’s a big staying chaser in the making, but he should be well able for bumpers and we’ll be looking forward to getting him out.

Presenting Percy

Form Profile:

A 165-rated chaser, he looked one of the most exciting young chasers in training when winning the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018 and while he hasn’t won since, he has finishing in the frame in a number of open Grade 1 chases. He has recently joined Elliott from Pat Kelly.

Trainer Says:

We’ve been very happy with him since he joined us. Watching it back again, he was running very well in the Gold Cup when he fell. He probably needs to improve a bit to get in amongst the very best staying chasers around, but he’s more than entitled to have a crack at them. We are looking towards the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal to start him off in. Longer term, he could be one for the Grand National.

Queens Brook

  • 6-y-o; bay mare
  • Breeding: Shirocco - Awesome Miracle (Supreme Leader)
  • Owner: Noel Moran & Mrs Valerie Moran
  • Last Race: Fairyhouse, 28 Nov 2020 13:01
  • Result: 3/6, tracked leaders in 3rd, pushed along entering straight, ridden in 3rd 2 out, no impression on leaders run-in, kept on same pace
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer, she finished third in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival last season and made a winning hurdling debut at Fairyhouse in October.

Trainer Says:

She made a winning hurdling debut the other day and probably did quite well as she was well short of peak fitness. I loved the way she put her head down and fought when she had to. She’ll come on loads from that. She goes to Down Royal now for the Grade 3 mares’ novice hurdle and she is one we like a lot.

Samcro (IRE)

Form Profile:

A 159-rated chaser, he two of his four three starts over fences last season including the March Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Says:

We’ll start him off in the Grade 2 chase at Down Royal later this month. We tried a few different things and got him back right last season. It was a real thrill to see him win at the Cheltenham Festival. We’ll more than likely keep him around mid-range trips and he could end up in the Ryanair Chase, all being well.

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

Sir Gerhard (IRE)

Form Profile:

Made a winning debut in a point-to-point at Boulta in November and subsequently changed hands for £400,000.

Trainer Says:

We were planning on running him at the backend of last season, but we obviously weren’t able to with the season finishing early. He’s working well and we’ll look to start him off in a bumper in the next couple of weeks.

Sire Du Berlais (FR)

Form Profile:

A 158-rated hurdler, he has won the last two renewals of the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Says:

He’s been a great horse for us to win twice at the Cheltenham Festival. He’s probably rated too high for handicaps now, so he’ll need to step up in open company. The staying hurdle division looks open, so hopefully he can step up to the mark.

Video Form
28 Dec 2018:
10 Nov 2018:
25 Apr 2018:

The Bosses Oscar (IRE)

Form Profile:

A 137-rated hurdler, he won a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting prior to finishing an eye-catching fifth in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Says:

Not much went right for him in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham this year and he was a bit unlucky there. There is a winner’s race at Thurles for him next week that looks a nice starting point for him, and we’ll look for valuable handicap hurdles for him after that. I’d be hopeful he can win one of those.

Tiger Roll (IRE)

Form Profile:

A 168-rated chaser, he has won the last two renewals of the Grand National at Aintree.

Trainer Says:

We’ve had a lovely clean run with him so far this season and he’s in great order. It wasn’t straightforward with him last season, as he had a setback early in the season that led to us chasing our tails a bit with him. The ground went against him at Cheltenham and he came home a very tired horse from there. With that in mind, it wasn’t the end of the world that we didn’t have to keep the pressure on him to get to the Grand National a few weeks later. We’ll see what the ground is like closer to the time, but we could start him off in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal. If he doesn’t go there, he could have a run over hurdles somewhere. The aim is to get him back to Cheltenham for the cross-country race and then onto the Grand National.

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