Every horse racing trainer loves nothing more than looking over the horse racing results & today’s meetings from Paddy Powerand seeing their name as a winner or a favourite. For that reason, Gordon Elliott will no doubt have enjoyed the recent Cheltenham Festival immensely. The Irishman, who famously saddled the winner of the 2007 Grand National, Silver Birch, at just 29 years old, counted seven winners in total at Cheltenham this year. Here, we look back at the magnificent seven that gave Elliott a Festival to remember.
Elliott’s remarkable four days at Prestbury Park kicked off on March 10th, or Champion Day when the 12/1 Ravenhill won the National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase. It was a moment to savour for both Elliott and the amateur jockey J J Codd, who rounded off the opening day of the Festival with a fine performance.
While Elliott would have enjoyed Ravenhill’s victory immensely, it’s probably fair to say Envoi Allen’s win in the following day’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle gave him far more satisfaction. The six-year-old, ridden by Davy Russell, was the 4/7 favourite going into the race, but delivered on those high expectations, producing a fine display to consign the likes of Willie Mullins’ The Big Getaway and Colin Tizzard’s The Big Breakaway to third and fourth respectively. Elliott’s other entry in the race, Easywork, finished second with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle, making it a good showing for the trainer.
It was two wins for Elliott on Ladies Day, as the JP McManus-owned Aramax stole the show in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, beating Night Edition in second and stablemate Saint D’oroux in third. It was one of many wins for McManus over the course of the Festival’s four days, as we saw the famous green and gold jersey cross the line in first place on several occasions.
Another big win for Elliott came in the Marsh Novices’ Chase on March 12th, as the 4/1 Samcro stole the limelight from Mullins’ Faugheen, who finished in third place having been outright favourite ahead of the race.
Sire Du Berlais
In the very next race, Sire Du Berlais, ridden by Barry Geraghty who also had a Cheltenham Festival to remember, gave Elliott another winner. Having been a 10/1 shot ahead of the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle, it was a fine performance from the eight-year-old to give McManus yet another triumph.
Another win for Elliott on the amateur scene made it a hat-trick of victories on Thursday at Cheltenham. Milan Native, ridden by jockey Rob James, was the 9/1 winner in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.
Elliott’s magnificent seventh win of the Festival came on Gold Cup Day, as 7/2 favourite Chosen Mate triumphed in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase. It was perhaps fitting that jockey Davy Russell delivered this final win of Elliott’s Festival, after all it is this dream jockey/trainer duo that has helped Tiger Roll win the Grand National on two consecutive occasions. There may not be a whole lot of horse racing to look forward to in the coming weeks, but Elliott will content himself with the fine performances of his horses at Cheltenham.