Cheltenham - At The Races

Gordon Elliott Stable Tour

    The County Meath maestro took his maiden top trainer title in 2017 and returns with another extremely powerful battalion this year - headline horses include the likes of Apple’s Jade, Cause Of Causes and Samcro.
  • Tuesday 06 March 2018
  • Stable Tours

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 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.

Quite remarkably, last season saw him dethrone Willie Mullins as the leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival and came within a whisker of toppling him in the race for Champion National Hunt Trainer in Ireland.

With Elliott having perhaps his strongest-ever team to go to war with at the Cheltenham Festival, he spoke to Kevin Blake of attheraces.com to give his verdict on his ammunition for 2018.

Older Horses

Apple's Jade (FR)

  • 6-y-o; bay filly
  • Breeding: Saddler Maker - Apple's For Ever (Nikos)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 28 Apr 2018 15:50
  • Result: 3/8, raced in 2nd, on terms from 5th, gained narrow lead 6th, joined 8th, led 3 out, pushed along before straight, headed approaching last, dropped to 3rd and one pace run-in
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 158-rated hurdler, she is a seven-time Grade 1 winner over hurdles and has arguably been better than ever this season in winning the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse and the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

Trainer Says:

She goes for the Mares’ Hurdle and I couldn’t be happier with her. She’ll do one more bit of work tomorrow morning and that’ll be her pretty much ready to go. She’s been easier to train this season. She just seems more mature and strong and her form on the track seems better than ever. I don’t think going there fresh will be a problem for her.

Video Form
28 Apr 2018:
28 Dec 2017:
3 Dec 2017:
12 Nov 2017:
29 Apr 2017:

Bless The Wings

  • 13-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Winged Love - Silva Venture (Mandalus)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 26 Apr 2018 16:50
  • Result: 4/10, tracked clear leader disputing 2nd, left disputing lead 6 out, headed 3 out, ridden in 3rd next, no impression in 4th before last
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 137-rated chaser, he has a fine record in cross-country chases, winning his most recent start in that sphere at Cheltenham in December.

Trainer Says:

He will run in the cross-country chase and Davy Russell will ride him.

Video Form
26 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
3 Dec 2017:
5 Nov 2017:
29 Apr 2017:

Blow By Blow

  • 7-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Robin Des Champs - Shean Rose (Roselier)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 25 Apr 2018 16:55
  • Result: 7/11, led and disputed, bumped with rival 6th, not always fluent jumping, headed from before straight and weakened from before last
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 132-rated hurdler, he has won a maiden hurdle at Navan and a Grade 3 novice hurdle at Thurles this season.

Trainer Says:

He’ll go for the Martin Pipe. He won well last time in first-time blinkers and that was probably the first time he’s shown his true form since he won the Grade 1 bumper at Punchestown. I’d say a combination of the less testing ground and blinkers were a help to him.

Video Form
25 Apr 2018:
1 Apr 2018:
22 Feb 2018:
7 Jan 2018:
17 Dec 2017:

Cause Of Causes (USA)

  • 10-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Dynaformer - Angel In My Heart (Rainbow Quest)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Cheltenham, 14 Mar 2018 16:10
  • Result: PU/16, held up behind, hampered by loose horse 12th, no danger after, tailed off when pulled up before 5 out
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 152-rated chaser, he has won at the last three Cheltenham Festivals, most recently in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase last year.

Trainer Says:

He goes to the cross-country race. It looks a good opportunity for him. He’s in very good form at home and we couldn’t be happier with him. He doesn’t do anything fancy at home, but he always seems to come alive at Cheltenham. Jamie Codd will ride him.

Video Form
4 Feb 2018:
27 Dec 2016:
27 Nov 2016:
13 Nov 2016:
21 Feb 2016:

De Plotting Shed

Form Profile:

A 143-rated chaser, he has run well without winning in all four of his starts over fences.

Trainer Says:

He goes for the novices’ handicap chase and probably looks like he’s well enough handicapped. I’d like to think the longer trip and better ground will help him. With a bit of luck, he won’t be far away.

Video Form
1 Aug 2018:
27 Apr 2018:
17 Apr 2018:
25 Jan 2018:
14 Jan 2018:

Dounikos (FR)

Form Profile:

A 151-rated chaser, he has won two of his three starts over fences, most recently finishing a close fourth in the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Trainer Says:

He goes for the RSA Chase. It’s looks a competitive renewal, but he jumps, stays and gallops and that’s what you need to win an RSA. I think stepping up to the RSA trip will be the making of him.

Video Form
24 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
4 Feb 2018:
26 Dec 2017:
25 Nov 2017:

Fagan

Form Profile:

A 145-rated hurdler, he won a novice chase at Perth in July and acquitted himself well in his two subsequent starts.

Trainer Says:

He’ll run in the National Hunt Chase. He hasn’t been an easy horse to train, but if you go back to his Albert Bartlett form he’d have a fair chance in this and he has a good record when fresh. He’ll be ridden by Barry O’Neill.

Video Form
1 Jan 2017:

Farclas (FR)

  • 4-y-o; gelding
  • Breeding: Jukebox Jury - Floriana (Seattle Dancer)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 28 Apr 2018 16:25
  • Result: 5/7, chased leaders, soon 3rd, closer order 6th, under pressure into straight and lost position, kept on same pace without threatening after
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 140-rated hurdler, he has run very well in his two starts in juvenile hurdles since joining Elliott from France, most recently finishing a close second in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Trainer Says:

He’s in good form and will run in the Triumph Hurdle. We’re going to put a tongue tie on him for the first time there. He doesn’t have a breathing problem, but I think it might help him a bit. I think he’s improving with every run and while he’ll need to improve again, I don’t think there’s any more than a good jump between the best of the Irish juvenile hurdlers. Jack Kennedy will ride him.

Video Form
28 Apr 2018:
4 Feb 2018:
26 Dec 2017:

Felix Desjy (FR)

Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer, he has won bumpers at Punchestown in October and at Down Royal in November.

Trainer Says:

He runs in the Champion Bumper. I think he’s a good horse and Davy Russell will ride him. I didn’t think I needed to do too much more with him and wasn’t sure whether to send him here, but the lads gave me the nod to send one over for it and I thought he was the best candidate.

Video Form
25 Apr 2018:
3 Nov 2017:
19 Oct 2017:

Flawless Escape

Form Profile:

A 132-rated hurdler, he has won one of his three starts over hurdles and made a promising handicap hurdle debut when third in a competitive contest at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Trainer Says:

He’ll run in the Martin Pipe. I thought he ran very well in his first handicap at Leopardstown and he ticks a lot of the boxes for this race. We have a few riders booked already and we’re likely to have four runners in the race, but the specifics of who rides what won’t be sorted out until closer to the time.

Video Form
4 Feb 2018:
28 Dec 2017:
18 Nov 2017:
25 Sep 2017:

Glenloe

  • 7-y-o; brown gelding
  • Breeding: Kayf Tara - Mandys Native (Be My Native)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 26 Apr 2018 18:05
  • Result: 5/25, mid-division, slightly hampered at 4th, closer 5th and mistake 3 out, ridden entering straight, 6th at last, no extra
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 134-rated hurdler, he has won one of his eight starts over hurdles and shaped very well in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Qualifier at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

Trainer Says:

He goes for the Pertemps Final. It’s a competitive race, but he’s in very good form. The one worry would be if it came up a bit quick, but it looks like there’s no real chance of that happening.

Video Form
26 Apr 2018:
28 Dec 2017:
26 Nov 2017:
11 Nov 2017:
5 Feb 2017:

Jury Duty

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Well Chosen - Swan Heart (Broken Hearted)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Galway, 1 Aug 2018 19:20
  • Result: 3/22, mid-division, moderate 6th 4 out, went moderate 5th and ridden at last, 4th entering straight, kept on without threatening in 3rd inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 148-rated chaser, he has won two of his five starts over fences including a Grade 2 novice chase at Punchestown in November.

Trainer Says:

He goes for the National Hunt Chase and Jamie Codd will ride. He stays three miles, but four miles will be a question he has to answer on the day. He has a good bit of class, so if he gets home he must have a fair chance.

Video Form
1 Aug 2018:
24 Apr 2018:
28 Jan 2018:
29 Dec 2017:
19 Nov 2017:

Mengli Khan

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Lope De Vega - Danielli (Danehill)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 24 Apr 2018 16:20
  • Result: 3/10, mid-division, bumped briefly after 3rd, progress into 3rd 3 out, ridden in 2nd entering straight, 3rd before last, bad mistake at last, kept on same pace run-in
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 148-rated hurdler, he won a Grade 3 novice hurdle at Navan and the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier this season. He finished second to Getabird in a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Punchestown on his latest start in February.

Trainer Says:

He goes for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the drier the ground, the better his chance. It’s probably hard to see him reversing form with Getabird, but he’s in very good form. I’m just not sure he gave his running at Punchestown last time, as the third and fourth horses were a bit closer to him than I expected.

Video Form
24 Apr 2018:
13 Jan 2018:
27 Dec 2017:
3 Dec 2017:
12 Nov 2017:

Mitchouka (FR)

Form Profile:

A 135-rated hurdler, he has won four of his seven starts over hurdles including a Grade 3 juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse in February.

Trainer Says:

He goes for the Fred Winter and is really well. I can see him travelling very well, but whether he gets up the hill is the question I have. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s my gut feeling.

Video Form
28 Apr 2018:
17 Apr 2018:
24 Feb 2018:
14 Jan 2018:
26 Dec 2017:

Monbeg Notorious

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Milan - Borleagh Princess (Presenting)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 24 Apr 2018 18:40
  • Result: 2/11, mid-division, reminder 3rd, 4th at next, mistake 9th, dropped to 11th and ridden 4 out, moderate 9th when badly hampered and went badly right 2 out, left moderate 6th approaching last, 5th at last, kept on without threatening winner to go 2nd close home
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 152-rated chaser, he has won three of his five starts over fences this season including the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park and a Grade 2 novice chase at Navan.

Trainer Says:

He won’t travel and will wait for the Irish Grand National.

Video Form
24 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
18 Feb 2018:
25 Jan 2018:
31 Dec 2017:

Mossback (IRE)

Form Profile:

A 150-rated chaser, he won a maiden chase at Naas and finishing a close second in a Grade 2 novice chase at Navan in February.

Trainer Says:

He’ll run in the National Hunt Chase and Lisa O’Neill will ride him.

Video Form
18 Feb 2018:
28 Jan 2018:
13 Jan 2018:
11 Nov 2017:
17 Apr 2017:

Outlander

Form Profile:

A 163-rated chaser, he won the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal in November and finished a neck second to Edwulf in the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on his latest start.

Trainer Says:

He’ll take his chance in the Gold Cup and it looks an open race. He had surgery for a kissing spine before he started back this season and I’ve been very happy with his performances this season. He ran bad in the race last season, but his jumping was terrible on the day and that was the case again at Punchestown after that, so maybe the issue with his back was to blame.

Video Form
25 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
4 Feb 2018:
28 Dec 2017:
4 Nov 2017:

Samcro

Form Profile:

A 155-rated hurdler, he has looked very exciting indeed in going unbeaten in three bumpers and three novice hurdles, with him running out the impressive winner of the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Trainer Says:

He goes for the Ballymore. If it came up really heavy, you never know, but the Ballymore is very much the plan as of now. I’d imagine we’ll give him a straightforward, jump him off in fourth or fifth and ride him like the best horse in the race.

Video Form
27 Apr 2018:
4 Feb 2018:
26 Nov 2017:
19 Oct 2017:
17 Apr 2017:

Shattered Love

Form Profile:

A 143-rated chaser, she has won four of her five starts over fences, most notably the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

Trainer Says:

She goes for the JLT. She jumps and gallops and I thought this might be a weaker option than the RSA for her. She’s nice and straightforward, so we can jump her off good and handy there and make use of her jumping and stamina. She’d had a few runs leading up to Christmas, so we decided to train her for here after that rather than give her a run in between. Another part of that is that I want to have some of these horses still in top form for the spring festivals in Ireland too. The last couple of seasons we’ve found ourselves running a bit low on ammunition for those meetings, so we think giving some of them an easier time in the middle part of the season might pay off later.

Video Form
24 Apr 2018:
1 Apr 2018:
29 Dec 2017:
10 Dec 2017:
19 Nov 2017:

Sire Du Berlais (FR)

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Poliglote - Royale Athenia (Garde Royale)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 25 Apr 2018 16:20
  • Result: 8/9, held up in touch, 6th from 3rd, pushed along at stages, some headway on inner approaching 3 out where mistake 3 out, no extra from before straight and eased
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 138-rated hurdler, he has only had three starts for Elliott, most recently finishing an eye-catching second in a handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse in February.

Trainer Says:

He’ll go for the Martin Pipe and is on good form. He’ll galloped through the line very well last time and I really liked his run.

Video Form
25 Apr 2018:
24 Feb 2018:
29 Apr 2017:
5 Feb 2017:

Squouateur (FR)

Form Profile:

A 135-rated chaser, he remains a maiden after nine starts over fences, but has shaped well in a number of valuable handicap chases in the last year.

Trainer Says:

He’ll run in the Kim Muir and Jamie Codd will ride him. Based on his run in the Paddy Power he has a good chance and even looking at his run at Cheltenham last year up until he fell would give you in encouragement.

Video Form
27 Apr 2018:
2 Apr 2018:
3 Feb 2018:
27 Dec 2017:
2 Dec 2017:

Tiger Roll (IRE)

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Authorized - Swiss Roll (Entrepreneur)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Aintree, 14 Apr 2018 17:15
  • Result: Won/38, never far away, hampered 6th (bechers), went 2nd after 3 out, led narrowly next, driven 5 lengths clear before elbow, ridden and tired inside final 50 yards, just held on
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 150-rated chaser, he won the Munster National at Limerick and the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season.

Trainer Says:

He goes for the cross country and Keith Donoghue will ride him. He had a kissing spine surgery before he came back this season and he’s another that seems to come alive at Cheltenham. We brought him over to school over these obstacles since his last run and I was delighted with him over there. We don’t like to leave any stone unturned if we can at all and that is why we do things like that. He’s absolutely flying at home and I think he’ll run very well.

Video Form
16 Nov 2017:
30 Oct 2017:
19 Oct 2017:
17 Apr 2017:
31 Oct 2016: