Gordon Elliott Stable Tour: Cheltenham Festival 2020

tiger roll grand national trophy gordon elliott michael o leary aintree

Gordon Elliott Stable Tour: Cheltenham Festival 2020

Gordon Elliott didn’t train his first Cheltenham Festival winner until 2011, but he has made short work of adding to that list ever since, saddling the likes of Tiger Roll, Don Cossack and Cause of Causes to success at Prestbury Park.

The man from County Meath is set to be mob handed once again, with a team of over 50 runners set to make the trip across the Irish Sea to Cheltenham.

Plenty of them have got leading chances across the four days, so Luke Parkinson has taken a look at the Elliott battalion to see which names could be crowning the Irishman in glory once again.

Abacadabras

 6-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 21121

Verdict: Fourth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last season and has made an equally good start to life over hurdles. He’s three from four over obstacles this season, including a Grade One at

Leopardstown at Christmas. Prior to that he was also a close second to Envoi Allen at Fairyhouse and really made the winner work that day, something which could prove to be a very good piece of form.

He hasn’t been seen since Christmas, but is likely to have been freshened up by his trainer and will be ready for a big crack at the Supreme.

Apple’s Jade

 8-y-o; bay mare

 Form: 5231P

Verdict: A classy mare who is now an eleven-time Grade One winner, including the Mares Hurdle at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. She flopped last year in her bid to win the Champion Hurdle after going four races unbeaten and hasn’t quite reached that level since with only one win to her name this season.

That came by 17 lengths when upped to three miles at Leopardstown in December, although she has recently been pulled up in the Galmoy Hurdle, and that would be a concern.

The Stayers Hurdle is the plan if she does make it to Cheltenham but there are no guarantees she’ll even be on the boat.

Battle of Wills

 4-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 16

Verdict: Fairly ordinary on the flat for James Tate with three low class wins from 11 outings on the level.

He has shown a little more over hurdles, with a debut victory for Gordon Elliott coming at Naas in late January but wasn’t great last time and would be something of an outsider for the Triumph Hurdle.

His trainer does like him though and a race where he could come from off the pace would certainly enhance any chance he does have.

Battleoverdoyen

 7-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: P-111F

Verdict: Was many people’s idea of the Ballymore winner at Cheltenham last season, sent of as the 3/1 favourite, but apparently didn’t enjoy the trip across the Irish sea and was eventually pulled up, before missing Punchestown with lameness.

He’s been much better this season, winning his first three starts in good style, before tipping up at Leopardstown most recently.

He was reported to be very sore after that fall and is another who might not be involved at Cheltenham.

If he does go, and all is well, he wouldn’t be completely out of the reckoning in the RSA.

Ben Dundee

 8-y-o; chestnut gelding

 Form: 63-427

Verdict: He finished a distant third behind A Plus Tard in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap at the Festival last year, but is now without a win since Punchestown in November 2018.

His two runs this season have seen him finish second and seventh, but he’s often better when fresh so the fact we are yet to see him in 2020 is a positive heading into the Festival.

Elliott has confirmed he will take his chance in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate and would be a decent each-way shout.

Coeur Sublime

 5-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 423-13

Verdict: Finished second to Pentland Hills in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham last year and has continued to show good form in his second season over hurdles.

He kicked off the new campaign by winning a Grade Two at Down Royal and then wasn’t completely disgraced when finishing third in the Grade One Matheson Hurdle won by Sharjah over Christmas.

He’s had a wind operation since that run and with his best form coming with some cut in the ground, he could be one to grab some place money in a wide-open Champion Hurdle.

Dallas Des Pictons

 7-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 0-153U

Verdict: Was just held by Early Doors when finishing second in the Martin Pipe last season, but hasn’t quite followed that up in five runs since then.

He opened the current campaign with a victory in a Beginners Chase at Gowran Park, but has suffered heavy defeats in two Grade Three’s since then and unseated last time out at Leopardstown.

The handicapper hasn’t been too kind considering, and he may well be kept back for the Irish Grand National.

Delta Work

 7-y-o; brown gelding

 Form: 3-1411

Verdict: Now a five-time Grade One winner, Delta Work was third in a classy looking renewal of the RSA Chase last season before winning the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown last April.

He’s been good again this year, winning the Savills Chase and the Irish Gold Cup, and on what we’ve seen, has the strongest line of form coming across from Ireland when it comes to the Gold Cup.

He’s a horse that tends to improve as the season goes on, and that gives him a great chance in the blue ribbon event.

Envoi Allen

 6-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 11-111

Verdict: Unbeaten in seven starts under rules for Gordon Elliott, and unbeaten in eight if you take into account his impressive point-to-point victory at Ballinaboola.

He’s simply won everything that has been put before him, including the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, and has made an equally

impressive, if not a better start to life over hurdles. Three starts this season have yielded a victory at Down Royal and then in Grade One’s at Fairyhouse and Naas. He really is the pick of the novice hurdlers this season and is the Irish banker for the Ballymore.

Fury Road

 6-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 31114

Verdict: A winning point-to-pointer, Fury Road has long been held in high regard and has done well so far over hurdles after landing his bumper at Fairyhouse in February last year.

Wins have since followed over hurdles at Down Royal, Navan and Limerick before disappointing in a Grade One at the Dublin Racing Festival.

The going was probably a touch too quick for him that day, but with the forecast suggesting it could be soft for the Festival, that could play into his hands in the Albert Bartlett.

Galvin

 6-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 62-F42

Verdict: Ran more in the UK than he did in Ireland last season, including a win and a second placed effort at Ayr.

His other was a midfield finish in the Ballymore, where he never really got involved after a bad blunder in the closing stages. This season has seen him stay closer to home, with a runner-up effort behind Salsaretta at Punchestown last time, arguably the pick of his form this season.

He’ll run in the Northern Trust Company Novices’ Handicap Chase and is fancied to go close.

Ravenhill

 10-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 2152F

Verdict: Racked up a couple of victories over the summer at Limerick before running well in the Galway Plate and the Kerry National. He was given a 74-day break after that, before falling at the 10th on his reappearance at Navan in November.

He hasn’t been seen since then, but has attracted some strong support for the Kim Muir despite showing his best form on good ground.

Roaring Bull

 7-y-o; bay gelding

 3015P

Verdict: Finished sixth in the Close Brothers last season, before being upped in distance to good effect when sixth in the Irish Grand National.

He’s stuck to around three miles again this season and landed a value pot in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown in December. That may well have taken its toll though as he was pulled up in heavy ground at Punchestown last time.

He’s another that could feature in the Kim Muir, but there’s the danger that he could have already ran his big race this season.

Samcro

 8-y-o: chestnut gelding

 Form: 25-1F2

Verdict: No longer really has the hype of being the second coming of Jesus Christ, but still retains ability and has shown enough over fences this season to keep you interested.

He won in fine style at Down Royal in November, before coming down at the second last in Fairyhouse when coming to take the race from Fakir D’oudairies.

He was then a 10-length second to Faugheen at Limerick where he made no impression on the winner, but he has had a wind operation since.

The Marsh is his target.

Shattered Love

 9-y-o; bay mare

 Form: 51732

Verdict: Won the JLT back in 2018, but has found winning hard to come by since then, only tasting success once in 12 attempts. That came at Clonmel in November, where she was a 34-length winner of a Listed Mares Chase on soft to heavy.

Those conditions seem to bring out the best in her as her second placed effort in the Red Mills Chase on heavy going last time suggests.

It’s likely she’ll get something similar at Cheltenham and that would make her a live outsider in the Ryanair or even one of the handicaps.

Sire du Berlais

 8-y-o; bay gelding

 Form: 18-494

Verdict: Landed his one and only win under rules in the Pertemps Network Final last season, and looks to be going for the same race again.

His preparation isn’t too dissimilar and he arguably has better form this season that he did last, including a fourth placed effort when sent to Warwick last time.

You’d be a brave punter to back against Gordon Elliott having him primed to run a big race once again.

The Storyteller

 9-y-o: chestnut gelding

 Form: 38U16

Verdict: Won the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate back in 2018, but was pulled up at the Festival in the Ryanair last season.

He did bounce back to be placed in Graded races at Fairyhouse and Punchestown, but a disappointing seasonal debut over fences forced connections to send him back over hurdles.

He has run okay since then, but appears to be one of those horses that just isn’t quite good enough to mix it at the very highest level.

With that in mind, the Pertemp's might play into his hands and he won’t be without a few followers shouting him up the hill.

Tiger Roll

 10-y-o; bay gelding

 4111-5

Verdict: Now officially a living Cheltenham legend, the Tiger is a four-time Festival winner as well as being a back-to-back champ of the Aintree Grand National.

He’s an icon of the sport and has warmed up nicely for another crack at the Cross Country this year by finishing fifth in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan, when not 100% fit.

He showed enough to get you excited in that run and they’ll be few backing against him to land a third Cross Country.

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