Gordon Elliott previews 2020/21 national hunt season

Gordon Elliott. (Pic courtesy of Jockey Club Racecourses).

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GORDON Elliott currently leads the Irish national hunt trainers’ championship and continued his good start to the season with the victory of Galvin at Cheltenham.

Galvin was second in a hot handicap at the Cheltenham Festival and is now unbeaten in four starts this term after scoring by seven lengths in the extended three-mile Matchbook Better Way To Bet Novices’ Chase on the first day of The Showcase meeting at Cheltenham on Friday.

Galvin is now best-priced at 6-1 (favourite) for the National Hunt Chase on the first day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.

Earlier this month Elliott outlined his plans for the season for some of his leading contenders.

Speaking on Betfair’s Racing Only Bettor podcast (October 5), Elliott said:

Gordon Elliott on Envoi Allen: “I’d be shocked if he steps out of the three miles in his novice season in the UK. In Ireland, there might be a chance maybe at Christmas, but in England, I’d imagine, if you asked me to put my hand on my heart now, his target in Cheltenham, I’d say it’s the Marsh.” 

Gordon Elliott on Tiger Roll: “It was very rushed preparation to get him to Cheltenham last year and he got a little setback, as everyone knows. We got him to Cheltenham. He was very tired after Cheltenham. He was very tired. He had a hard race. The ground was probably softer than what he wanted that day. He was stiff and sore after the race. If you watch the re-run again, he loses his hind-end a little bit turning in, and he was sore.

“I think it might have been a blessing in disguise [no Grand National run] “He’s a fresh horse this year.”

When asked about the Cross Country in Cheltenham as a target, Elliott continued: “It’ s a big priority for me and he’ll be trained for Cheltenham, number one, and the Aintree Grand National, number two.” 

Gordon Elliott on Presenting Percy: “He’s not your typical big three-mile chaser. He’s a short-coupled horse but the one thing about him is his got a real deep girth, so loads of room there for oxygen, and a good heart.

“We’re happy with what he’s shown us at home. He’s been trained for the Gold Cup at the moment, but I definitely have the English Grand National in the back of my mind. I think he’s the type of horse that would suit the race. He’s got a lot of class. He travels. He jumps.”  

Gordon Elliott on Abacadabras and a tilt at the Champion Hurdle: “I’d like to think Abacadabras [who was second to Siskin in the 2020 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle] could be, with a bit of improvement, the right type of horse.” 

Gordon Elliott on Queens Brook: “She’s a lovely mare. She’s done very, very well on her holidays this year. Aiden Fitzgerald trained her to win in a point-to-point and between him and Jamie Codd, recommended us to buy her at the Cheltenham sale. Noel Moran and Valerie Moran were good enough to buy her for me, and she’s repaid them well. She’s won her bumper and she’s Grade 1 form now. Do you know, it was a pity we didn’t get to come back to Punchestown for there was a listed mares’ bumper or the Grade 1 race for her.

“She’s done very, very well on her holidays. She jumps well. She’s a filly I’m looking forward to going jumping with. I think she could be up to holding her own even in open company, to be honest.”

“She’ll be trained for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle in Cheltenham. That’s the plan.”

Gordon Elliott on Grand Roi: “Look, he looks a nice horse. Nicky Henderson told me when we bought him: ‘He doesn’t do anything flashy at home. Don’t be disappointed if he’ s not working the place down.’  
“We’ve had him away for one bit of work and it was satisfactory. It wasn’t poor and but it wasn’t ‘wow’. “So he worked probably better than what I thought. I was ready to be disappointed.

“Listen, he’s one of them obvious horses that anyone could pick out. On that select day, he was arguably the best horse in the sale. He cost plenty of money. They aren’t always the best ones, but we’ re lucky to have him and lucky to have people who want to buy them.

“Noel [Meade] told me once upon a time, when I started training – and I think it’s a very true saying – that ‘If you win in the sales ring, you win on the racecourse.’  “It’ s not rocket science.” 

Gordon Elliott on Hollow Games: “There’s a nice horse there that I like. He keeps catching my eye on the gallop every morning. He’ ll be a nice Bumper horse this year. He’s a horse called Hollow Games. He’s one that just keeps catching my eye.” 

Gordon Elliott on Samcro: “I’ll probably start him off in Down Royal in the second-season novice all being well. He’ s done very well on his holidays. He’d done a bit of work last week.

“Keith Donoghue rode him and he had a grin from one side of his face to the other. He was thrilled with him. Look, I suppose the one miss, everyone says it was a great training performance to get him back to winning Cheltenham, but on the same breath, probably running him in Limerick on heavy ground was very stupid. I won’t make that mistake again.

“I think he’s just not the same horse in really, really heavy ground. If you asked me his aim in Cheltenham, if it was next week, I’d say it’d be the Ryanair.” 

Gordon Elliott on Eskylane: “He’s a nice horse. He’s enough pace for two miles and I think he could stay three. He’ s a horse I like and there’s something about him. He keeps catching my eye on the gallop every day. I think he could win a nice race as the season goes on.”

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