Cheltenham - At The Races

Gordon Elliott Stable Tour

    The County Meath maestro is favourite for a third consecutive top trainer title and his strongest-ever squad for Prestbury Park features the likes of Apple’s Jade, Delta Work, Envoi Allen and Tiger Roll.
  • Tuesday 19 February 2019
  • 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 Aintree 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, the last two seasons have seen him crowned the leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival as well as coming within a whisker of toppling Willie Mullins in the race for Champion National Hunt Trainer in Ireland. Last season saw him secure an amazing tally of 210 winners 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 tell us about their prospects.

Older Horses

Abacadabras (FR)

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Davidoff - Cadoubelle Des As (Cadoudal)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 1 May 2019 18:40
  • Result: 2/10, tracked leaders, 4th halfway, pushed along and not clear run before straight, switched right and headway on inner 2f out, soon ridden in 2nd and kept on, edged left under pressure inside final furlong, kept on one pace
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Made a winning debut in a bumper at Galway in October and was running very well in a Grade 2 bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival when running out through the rail inside the final furlong.

Trainer Says:

He’ll run in the Champion Bumper. I’m not saying he would have beaten Envoi Allen at Leopardstown last time, but he was coming at him when he ducked through the rail. It was just one of those things, it was almost certainly just greenness that led to him doing it. It was probably the first time he ever got a proper belt of a stick and he just ducked in away from it.

Video Form
27 Oct 2018:

Andy Dufresne (IRE)

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Doyen - Daytona Lily (Beneficial)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Down Royal, 29 Jan 2019 16:25
  • Result: Won/9, soon close up on outer and ran freely early, led after 3f, pushed out to assert over 1f out, quickened away inside final furlong, impressively
  • View full form
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 a winning start for Elliott in a bumper at Down Royal in Down Royal.

Trainer Says:

He won’t run at Cheltenham. He’s been given an entry for Naas on Sunday and I have to talk to his owners before making a decision on that, but I’d say he’s unlikely to run there either. He’s a very smart horse.

Apple's Jade (FR)

Form Profile:

A 162-rated hurdler, she is a 10-time Grade 1 winner over hurdles that won a thrilling renewal of the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017 and most recently won the Irish Champion Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival in great style.

Trainer Says:

She came out of Leopardstown in very good form. I was nervous about her dropping back to two miles against top-class geldings there, but she’d showed how good she is. She has gone from strength to strength this season. I could try and tell you why she has improved, but I’d only be guessing. I’m not too worried about why it has happened, I’m just delighted that it’s happened! She’ll have two more bits of work between now and Cheltenham and it’s all systems go for the Champion Hurdle. If we can get her there in the same form that she’s been in for her last three starts, I think she’ll run a big race. Looking back on last year at Cheltenham, the whole world knows what was wrong in that she was is season both there and at Punchestown. We are monitoring her cycle very closely this year and will be doing all we can to try and ensure that she won’t come into season on those big days this time. I’d also say that we probably made a mistake by not running her in between Christmas and Cheltenham last year. She seems to thrive on racing and having the extra run in between will stand to her. I don’t think she has to make the running. She was taken on in the Hatton’s Grace and I’d say that might have been her best performance all season. If something else wants to jump out and go quicker than her at Cheltenham, I’d say that might even suit her even better.

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

Battleoverdoyen (IRE)

Form Profile:

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

Trainer Says:

The plan is to go for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. He maybe lacks a bit of experience having only had two runs over hurdles, but I think the race will suit him. I decided not to run him at the Dublin Racing Festival as he was after having three runs in six weeks and I just thought it might be a lot to ask to go again at Leopardstown. He is great form and I couldn’t be happier with him.

Video Form
16 Dec 2018:
28 Nov 2018:

Champagne Classic

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Stowaway - Classical Rachel (Shahanndeh)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Navan, 17 Feb 2019 15:25
  • Result: 2/6, tracked leaders, 3rd halfway, ridden approaching 2 out and went 2nd before last, under pressure and kept on run-in
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 150-rated hurdler, 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.

Trainer Says:

Nothing is set in concrete yet, but the National Hunt Chase is the race I’d have in mind for him. He maybe didn’t jump as well on what was firmer ground the other day as he did on his first start over fences. Jack felt the ground was just tight enough for him and he didn’t jump as well off it. Thankfully he has come out of it well and softer ground at Cheltenham would be a help to him.

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

Coeur Sublime

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Elusive Pimpernel - Love Knot (Lomitas)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Fairyhouse, 22 Apr 2019 14:40
  • Result: 3/9, soon raced in 4th, closed up before straight, challenged and on terms before 2 out, headed between last 2, 3rd approaching last, no extra
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 132-rated hurdler, he won a juvenile hurdle at Down Royal and was set to go close in a Grade 2 contest at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting only to fall at the final flight.

Trainer Says:

He scoped wrong after running at Gowran Park on Saturday, so it’ll be touch and go whether he gets to Cheltenham or not. He’s a good horse. In slightly different circumstances, he would have been three from three going into Gowran Park. We’ll see how he is in the next 10 days.

Video Form
26 Dec 2018:
2 Dec 2018:
3 Nov 2018:
23 Apr 2018:

Commander Of Fleet

Form Profile:

A 143-rated hurdler, he has won two of his three starts over hurdles including the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Trainer Says:

I thought he was good when winning the Grade 1 novice hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival. He was a bit green in front and should come on from it. I think stepping up to three miles for the Albert Bartlett will suit him. He actually ran well in the Royal Bond over two miles, but the trip was just too short for him. The one negative with him is that he might just lack a bit of experience for a race like the Albert Bartlett, so we might just take him away for a school over hurdles before we go there. He will hopefully be a sharper horse at Cheltenham than he was at Leopardstown.

Video Form
2 Dec 2018:
17 Nov 2018:
24 Apr 2018:

Dallas Des Pictons (FR)

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Spanish Moon - Nadia Des Pictons (Video Rock)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Aintree, 5 Apr 2019 16:40
  • Result: 11/12, held up towards rear on outside, closed 2nd, ridden after 2 out, disputing 4th before last, no impression, weakened and heavily eased flat
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 137-rated hurdler, he has won two of his four starts this season including a valuable handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Trainer Says:

The Martin Pipe is the plan for him. It’s a race I always really try to win and he’ll be one of five or six runners in it for me. He has a mark of 141 in England and that will get him in lovely.

Video Form
26 Dec 2018:
10 Nov 2018:

Delta Work (FR)

  • 6-y-o; brown gelding
  • Breeding: Network - Robbe (Video Rock)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 30 Apr 2019 18:40
  • Result: Won/8, waited with, 5th from 6th, improved to get on terms before 3 out, soon led travelling smoothly, asserted from 2 out, stayed on well run-in, easily
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 155-rated chaser, he won the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival last year. He is unbeaten in three starts in novice chases this season including two Grade 1 contests.

Trainer Says:

I pulled him out of his intended target at the Dublin Racing Festival. I was just fearful that the ground would be too firm for him. Davy felt it was quick enough for him at Christmas and it seemed firmer at the Dublin Racing Festival. He has three runs over fences under him, so he doesn’t lack for experience. He won at the Cheltenham Festival last year and looks a very solid horse for the RSA Chase.

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

Envoi Allen (FR)

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Muhtathir - Reaction (Saint Des Saints)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Cheltenham, 13 Mar 2019 17:30
  • Result: Won/14, held up mid-division on outside, steady headway over 4f out, challenged 3f out, led turning in, shaken up over 1f out, ridden and stayed on when hard pressed inside final furlong, held on well
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer for his previous connections, he has won all three of his starts in bumpers for Elliott in impressive style.

Trainer Says:

The plan is to run him in the Champion Bumper. He might not have blown everyone away at the Dublin Racing Festival, but I thought he did as much as he had to do on the day. He’d prefer more of a test than that inside track at Leopardstown on good ground. He’s a horse for the future really. He was bought as a three-mile chaser in the making and that’s what he’ll be, so to be doing what he’s doing in bumpers is amazing really. His owners Mr and Mrs Thompson are keen to have runners at the Cheltenham Festival, so that’s where he goes.

Video Form
16 Dec 2018:
2 Dec 2018:

Felix Desjy (FR)

Form Profile:

A winning point-to-pointer, he has won two of his five starts over hurdles including the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in February.

Trainer Says:

The plan is to run him in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. I think we were just riding him wrong earlier in the season. We were dropping him in thinking he had a bit of speed, but he’s just a relentless galloper and being more forward seems to suit him better. He’s a two-mile chaser in the making.

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

Glenloe

  • 8-y-o; brown gelding
  • Breeding: Kayf Tara - Mandys Native (Be My Native)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Fairyhouse, 26 Jan 2019 12:00
  • Result: 4/10, chased leaders, 4th from 4th, not fluent 8th, slight mistake 4 out, soon pushed along, no impression approaching straight, kept on without threatening
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 140-rated hurdler, he finished a nose second in the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival last year. He has shaped well without winning in his two starts to date.

Trainer Says:

He has missed a bit of work recently and I think we’ll struggle to get him to Cheltenham.

Video Form
6 Jan 2019:
26 Apr 2018:
28 Dec 2017:
26 Nov 2017:
11 Nov 2017:

Hardline

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Arcadio - Hidden Reserve (Heron Island)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 3 May 2019 16:20
  • Result: 2/12, rear of mid-division, closer in mid-division at halfway, 6th when badly hampered and left 5th 4 out, ridden in 5th at next, went moderate 2nd 2 out, kept on without threatening winner from last
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 151-rated chaser, he won a Grade 1 novice chase at Limerick’s Christmas meeting prior to finishing third in the Flogas Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Trainer Says:

I thought he ran very well at the Dublin Racing Festival. He landed on top of a fence going away from the stands and was very slow at the next. Jack just hunted him around after that and he made a lot of headway between the last two fences before running out of steam. I’m thinking about coming back in trip with him for the Arkle Challenge Trophy. His form over two miles is very good. He beat Us And Them very well at Navan and he has since chased home Le Richebourg twice. I’m not saying we could beat Le Richebourg, but we might just have a go at it. Softer ground would help my fella and probably wouldn’t suit Le Richebourg.

Video Form
26 Dec 2018:
8 Dec 2018:
17 Nov 2018:
13 Oct 2018:
24 Apr 2018:

Lethal Steps (GB)

  • 4-y-o; gelding
  • Breeding: Lethal Force - Tanda Tula (Alhaarth)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Listowel, 10 Sep 2019 15:35
  • Result: 7/14, soon tracked leaders, 4th approaching 4th, pushed along approaching straight, no impression and one pace from before 2 out
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 102 on the Flat, he has run well without winning in all three starts in juvenile hurdles.

Trainer Says:

He’ll go for the Fred Winter. He has got some good experience under him now, so he could be the type to find some improvement and run well in a Fred Winter.

Video Form
21 Jun 2019:
15 Dec 2018:
16 Sep 2018:
21 Jun 2018:
13 May 2018:

Malone Road

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Kalanisi - Zaffarella (Zaffaran)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • 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 has impressed in winning both his starts in bumpers this season.

Trainer Says:

I’ve decided that I’m not going to try to get him back this season. I’ll let him off and have him back in early for next season. He’s a really exciting two-mile chaser in the making and is one to really look forward to.

Video Form
18 Nov 2018:
3 Nov 2018:

Mengli Khan

Form Profile:

A 150-rated hurdler, he made a winning chasing debut at Punchestown in November and has run well in his two subsequent starts in Grade 1 novice chases.

Trainer Says:

I am thinking about stepping him up in trip. I’ve been a bit disappointed with him. He hasn’t been having a cut at his fences and ex-Flat horses can sometimes be like that. We’ll all chat about it closer to the time, but my thought at the minute is to run him in the JLT Novices’ Chase.

Video Form
18 Jun 2019:
26 Dec 2018:
28 Nov 2018:
24 Apr 2018:
13 Jan 2018:

Samcro

Form Profile:

A 162-rated hurdler, he won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last year and looked one of the most exciting hurdlers in training coming into this campaign, but has proved disappointing in three starts this season.

Trainer Says:

The issue we found with him after his last run was a deep-seated lung infection. On the scope, you could see there was a little bit of dirt in him, but it wasn’t until we did a lung wash that we found the extent of the problem. We gave him two easy weeks and a course of antibiotics after that. He looks good now, but until you go and give them a couple of good bits of work, you don’t really know where you are with them. Cheltenham is coming up fast enough for him and how he is in the next 10 days will decide whether he goes there or not. If he was to go, it would probably be the Stayers’ Hurdle, but nothing is set in concrete yet. If he doesn’t make it there, Aintree and Punchestown are obvious alternatives, but we could just take the shoes off him and leave him off for the summer too.

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

Shattered Love

Form Profile:

A 155-rated chaser, she won five of her eight starts over fences last season, most notably the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. She ran well without winning in her first two starts this season prior to disappointing in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase.

Trainer Says:

She’ll run in the Gold Cup. She ran very well in the John Durkan, but she disappointed at Leopardstown last time and came home with sore shins. When you look at her, you can see how it would happen, as she’s very big. We took a chance and didn’t get away with it, but we gave her time to come right after that and she’s back going well. She has a few more bits of work to come through, but all being well she’ll go for the Gold Cup. She has been there and done it at the Cheltenham Festival and if she turns up in the same form that she did in the John Durkan, I think she has an each-way chance.

Video Form
28 Dec 2018:
9 Dec 2018:
3 Nov 2018:
24 Apr 2018:
1 Apr 2018:

Sire Du Berlais (FR)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Poliglote - Royale Athenia (Garde Royale)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Aintree, 6 Apr 2019 13:45
  • Result: 8/21, tracked leaders, blundered 5th, mistake 4 out, ridden approaching 3 out, no impression from next, stayed on same pace
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 142-rated hurdler, he finished fourth in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last year and ran well in a qualifier for the Pertemps Network Final on his latest start.

Trainer Says:

The plan is to go for the Pertemps Network Final with him. He ran well in the qualifier at Leopardstown and that is the plan for him.

Video Form
28 Dec 2018:
10 Nov 2018:
25 Apr 2018:
24 Feb 2018:
29 Apr 2017:

The Storyteller

  • 8-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Shantou - Bally Bolshoi (Bob Back)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 1 May 2019 18:05
  • Result: 3/8, towards rear, slight mistake 9th, pushed along after 4 out and no impression in 6th after next, some headway on inner early straight and moderate 3rd approaching last, kept on one pace
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 160-rated chaser, he won three of his six starts over fences last season, including the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He has run well without winning in all four of his starts this season.

Trainer Says:

He has a few entries, but the plan at the minute is to run in the Ryanair Chase. I’d say he’d need a lot of things to go his way for him to win it, but the type of horse he is and the way he’ll be ridden, he could sneak into the frame. The tactical nature of the race didn’t really suit him in the Irish Gold Cup. An end-to-end gallop in the Ryanair would suit him better.

Video Form
28 Dec 2018:
9 Dec 2018:
3 Nov 2018:
24 Apr 2018:
1 Apr 2018:

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.

Trainer Says:

We will skip Cheltenham this year and will probably aim him for the Punchestown Festival. He is entered at Naas on Sunday, but we’ll wait and see on that.

Video Form
8 Dec 2018:

Tiger Roll (IRE)

  • 9-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Authorized - Swiss Roll (Entrepreneur)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • 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 159-rated chaser, he won the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National last season. He made an impressive return to winning ways in the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan at the weekend.

Trainer Says:

I couldn’t believe how well he won at Navan on Sunday. In my mind, it looked a nice spot to give him a pipe opener for Cheltenham and I thought he’d finish last or second last! That was the first time we’ve had blinkers on him for a while and it’s fair to say they worked. He travelled brilliantly. I’d imagine we’ll leave them on for Cheltenham. To win at three Cheltenham Festivals and a Grand National, it just shows the sort of horse he is. He might not be the best horse I’ve ever trained, but he’s definitely one of the most likeable. Watching a horse like him would put a smile on your face.

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

Ucello Conti (FR)

  • 11-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Martaline - Gazelle Lulu (Altayan)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 3 May 2019 18:35
  • Result: PU/9, rear of mid-division, slight mistake at 5th, dropped to 6th 5 out, soon ridden and weakened, pulled up after 3 out
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A 147-rated chaser, he has won a point-to-point and both his starts hunter chases this season.

Trainer Says:

Barry O’Neill was very happy with him at Navan. He said he was only doing as much as he had to and that he was toying with them. Cheltenham will be a step up for him, but he has a lot of experience in competitive handicaps and the race should suit him well.

Video Form
25 Jan 2018:
27 Dec 2017:
12 Mar 2017:
26 Jan 2017:
27 Dec 2016:

Vision D'honneur (FR)

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Vision D'etat - Hembra (Croco Rouge)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • 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:

“He’ll go for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. I was disappointed he was beaten at Leopardstown and then he won well at Punchestown. The ground was a bit too quick for him at Leopardstown last time. Jack felt he wasn’t letting himself down on it or jumping off it as well as he can. He’s a horse that I could see stepping up in trip down the road.

Video Form
26 Dec 2018: