Gordon Elliott Stable Tour: Cheltenham Festival 2023


Jake Russell | @JakeRuss1000

Doctor Bravo

6yo Grey Gelding

Target - Supreme or Ballymore

A horse that looks like a potential step up in trip will be coming shortly, whether they will do this for the festival or make it a focus on next year. But Doctor Brave has some decent form heading into the Festival, only having the four runs under rules, he was a winner on his sole bumper start back in December. He has since run three times over Hurdles, 2nd on his hurdling debut before going on to win his Maiden Hurdle in relatively easy fashion, before going on to run a very decent 3rd in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park. He was only beaten by just under 2 lengths that day, which could have been a lot less should the jumping late on was better. He looks like he could outrun his odds, but would need to improve in the jumping department to win a top-class race at the festival. 

The Goffer

6yo Bay Gelding

Target - Ultima 

A horse that has quite an interesting profile heading into this race, he was brought over to the UK for the Grade 2 Hampton Novices Chase at Warwick in January, where he was quite well beaten, before going on to win a decent Handicap pot at the Dublin Racing Festival last month, beating Glamorgan Duke by 2 lengths. A decent hurdler who looks to be even better over fences, with the current record of 2 wins in just 4 starts over the larger obstacles. He has taken a 9lb rise from his last performance, but it was clear he was ahead of the handicapper last time out, after being dropped 8lb's from his disappointing run at Warwick. He has been quite well fancied for this race, and seems to be on a upward curve, but would need to provide a career best run to win this typical wide-open affair.  

Queens Brook

8yo Bay Mare

Target - Mares Hurdle

It's no secret the mares hurdle this year could be an absolute fire cracker of a race, with some top-class mares lining up, although Queens Brook does look to potentially lack the Grade 1 ability, she does have some decent form over Hurdles. She beat Brandy Love last time out in the Grade 3 Quevega Hurdle, and although things didn't suit Brandy Love, Queens Brook wont that race on merit, putting in an excellent performance to win going away by just over 4 lengths. She jumped superbly, before responding to pressure nicely to forge clear down the home straight. She is yet to win at the top level, but she has some decent form in behind her, especially at the Cheltenham Festival. A 3rd place finish in the Champion Bumper back in 2020, only beaten by just under 6 lengths, and an excellent 2nd in the Mares Hurdle 2 lengths behind Marie's Rock. She seems to always run well here, and although this is a hotter contest than last year, Cheltenham plays to her strengths and seems to bring the best out of her. 

Chemical Energy

7yo Chesnut Gelding

Target - National Hunt Chase

Chemical Energy has only really contested at the staying sort of trips twice in his short career so far, once in a Novice Chase at Cheltenham back in October, where he won by half the track, and then in a Grade 3 Chase at Naas in January, well beaten by 31 lengths. He was eased down last time and did drop down like a stone in water, with no real excuse as to why he didn't perform to good, maybe it was the softer conditions as most of his recent runs have been on good or good to soft. There are a few stayers in the family, but he isn't exactly bred for the staying trip, so this step up to 3m6f might not suit, but should he re-produce that performance from last October at Cheltenham, he could be a force at the trip going forward providing the ground stays on the better side where ever he goes.  

Minella Crooner

7yo Bay Gelding

Target - National Hunt Chase or Kim Muir

A pretty decent hurdler who put in an excellent display to finish 2nd in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last February, the thinking has always been he might be a better staying chaser in the making. Connections pitched him straight into Grade 2 company for his chase debut, where he finished a head second behind Darrens Hope, which was a decent but unlucky not to win performance. He then followed that up with a decent winning performance at Fairyhouse in December, beating I Am Maximus by a short head, after he was headed late on, but stayed on stoutly all the way to the line. He has not won since that performance, contesting in a Grade 3 where he was well beaten before going on to slightly disappoint when beaten into 2nd by just over 3 lengths at Fairyhouse last month. The further in trip he goes will bring more out of him, but he would need a slight bit of cut in the ground to really be seen to better effect. He has been given the chase rating of 145, so let's weight and see what weights will be allocated by the UK handicapper shortly.

Absolute Notions

5yo Bay Gelding

Target - Ballymore or Albert Bartlett

A very classy winner in his only bumper last year, beating Miss Agusta by just under 7 lengths, who has since been brought into the Gordon Elliott yard. There were a few eyes on him coming into this season, and there would have been even more after his classy Hurdling win at Punchestown in November, beating Deep Cave by just under 4 lengths. He jumped nicely on debut, and ran on well when popped the question. That performance earned him the right to contest in a Grade 2 contest next time out, where he was sent off the short priced favourite, finishing 3rd by just under 5 lengths. There were a few hurdles taken out that day due to low sun, so that definitely wouldn't have suited him, as his jumping seems to be his best asset. He then lined up in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle over 2m6f at the Dublin Racing Festival, finishing a decent length and a half behind Good Land. That was a decent run, he was no match for the winner but did run on well late to claim second sport. He will be stepped up in trip shortly, when that will be is not confirmed as yet.

Favori De Champdou

8yo Bay Gelding

Target - Ballymore or Allbert Bartlett

A horse that has come on leaps and bounds this season, improving with every run he has had. second on debut back in October at Galway, he then stepped up to the plate to win his Maiden Hurdle over 2m7f by just under 4 lengths, staying on all the way to the line. He then backed that up and confirmed the promise once again to win another Novice Hurdle over 2m7f, beating Harry Des Ongrais by just under 4 lengths, winning going away at the finish. He was then stepped up in class to contest in the Grade 2 Lyons Of Limerick Novice Hurdle at Limerick, winning it very nicely indeed catching the eye with is decent jumping, and how he travelled throughout the race. That was a pretty decent performance, and I would imagine given the trip he has been running at recently, the Albert Bartlett will be the plan for the horse. It's a wide-open contest this year, so he could easily step up in class again to land this top prize. 

Gerri Colombe

7yo Bay Gelding

Target - Brown Advisory

Arguably one of the yard's most impressive horses running this festival week, unbeaten in seven rules starts, he was lightly raced over hurdles so connections have obviously always thought he was going to be a decent chaser. He was an impressive winner on his chasing debut at Fairyhouse, jumping really well before going on to win comfortably by just under 3 lengths, with Bronn in behind who has won since. He then took a huge step up in class, contesting in the Grade 1 Faugheen Novices Chase at Limerick, where he jumped beautifully to win by just under 5 lengths, that was quite an eye-catching performance. The yard then took a plunge to bring him over to the UK before the festival, and what an excellent decision that was, as he lined up in the Grade Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown. He didn't particularly jump with his usual fluency, but he powered home impressively to win by just under 2 lengths, which could have been more had he not drift right towards the line. He clearly has some engine, and looks quite versatile with regards to the ground conditions, he is an exciting horse to keep an eye on heading into festival week.   

Mighty Potter

6yo Bay Gelding

Target - Turners

Another nice type for the yard heading into this year's festival, with the current record of seven wins in just nine career starts, including three wins in three starts over fences. He has looked a decent prospect over the larger obstacles this year, winning on his chase debut at Down Royal, before going on to jump up in class to Grade 1 level, where he put in an excellent jumping display to beat Gaillard Du Mesnil by just over 4 lengths. There were slight question marks on the form of the race given the horse in second is built more of a stayer, he definitely then confirmed the promise next time out at the Dublin Racing Festival, where again he jumped very nicely, travelled strongly, and kept on very well heading up the home straight towards the line, to win going away by just under 9 lengths. It's still unclear on what race he might head for, given the yard have another classy novice chaser, but I'm sure connections have the perfect plan in mind for him.

American Mike

6yo Bay Gelding

Target - Coral Cup, Albert Bartlett, Ballymore and Martin Pipe

A horse who had quite a big reputation heading into his Novice Hurdle season, he had to chase home Facile Vega on a few occasions last season, which included the Champion Bumper at the festival last year. He won his Hurdle debut with relative ease, beating Letsbeclearaboutit by just under 7 lengths, before going on to in a Grade 3 contest over 2m4f, where he was expected to win but did disappoint and was well beaten by 8 lengths. The bubble did slightly burst at that time, as he wasn't seen again for just under 3 months, where he then lined up in a Listed Novice contest at Navan a few weeks back, where he was sent off a short priced favourite again, but was well beaten into 4th by just under 8 lengths. He tried to make all that day, which might not have suited, but the way he faded later on in the race was a slight concern, and nothing was reported after the race. That was over 2 miles however, so he probably didn't have the pace late on the race that the others have, so stepping back up in trip for the festival will hopefully bring more out of him.

Three Card Brag

6yo Bay Gelding

Target - Coral Cup, Albert Bartlett or Martin Pipe

An interesting runner for the yard who will most likely head for a handicap contest given he is yet to win anything graded this season. He won nicely on his debut at Galway, where he won by just under 7 lengths, before going on to jump up in class to graded company, finishing 3rd in the Novice Hurdle at Navan, beaten by just under 2 lengths, which was over 2 mile, where he was staying on well suggesting a step up in trip will suit this horse. He then went and lined up in a Grade 2 contest at Naas in December, his first run at 2m4f where he was only beaten by a neck into second, and probably could have luck with better luck in running. That shown he does have promise over the longer trips, and he shown that was the case when winning a novice hurdle contest by 12 lengths at Fairyhouse in January. He does look potentially graded, but connections might test their hand in a handicap to hope he could be a graded horse in a handicap resulting in a festival win.    

Andy Dufresne

9yo Bay Gelding

Target - Grand Annual

A horse that contested in this contest last year, running a very decent race to finish second behind Global Citizen by 3 lengths, he has been slightly disappointing since then, virtually finishing last on all three of his starts this year, he has crept back down to a similar mark to what he was for this contest last year, which is in fact 3lb's lower. Gordon Elliott has reported he is having a little break after his last run at Fairyhouse in January, which was a very similar tactic they used last year (He last run in November before heading to the festival) If he can reproduce the form he shown in this race last year, he could go well once again.     

Better Days Ahead

5yo Bay Gelding

Target - Champion Bumper

Gordon Elliott stated recently that he asked Jamie Codd what horse he would ride in the bumper at the festival this year, to which he responded without hardly thinking about its Better Days Ahead. A nice type who was a decent point to point winner before going to Gordon's, and confirmed the promise by coming 2nd on his bumper debut (Probably lacked a bit of pace for the winner that day) and then won very nicely at Fairyhouse back in December. He was quite keen that day, but did respond very well to pressure when asked of by Jamie Codd, to pull away and win by just under 4 lengths. That was an eye-catching performance, and the penny clearly dropped after his debut run just a month or two before. The Champion Bumper scene is wide open this year, so he could be the one to side with, given the confidence from Jamie Codd, a regular rider in this race. 


9yo Bay Gelding

Target - Gold Cup

A horse who has been described as a bit of a "lunatic in his early days" by his trainer, also stated he has come on leaps and bounds on the track these past few runs. He was in the process of running a cracking race in the Ryanair last year, disputing second placed before coming down with 2 jumps to go, he then backed that performance up with a decent 2nd place finish in the Betway Bowl at Aintree last April. His seasonal debut was contested in a pretty hot Grade 1 contest at Down Royal in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase, before he went on to put in arguably a career best performance to land the Grade 1 prize, the Savills Chase at Leopardstown last December. His trainer stated the step up in trip will help this horse, especially when it comes to Cheltenham, and Gordon was very impressed with his performance last time out, and the form in behind isn't too bad either. He will come into Festival week with a nice break, which will no doubt set him in good order ready for the feature chase of the jumps racing calendar.

Delta Work

10yo Brown Gelding

Target - X Country

One of the shortest priced runners of the week, last year's Cross Country heroine lines up again to try and land the prize. Last year's performance was excellent, he looked second best behind Tiger Roll, but stayed on superbly up the Cheltenham Hill to win going away by just under a length, stamping his authority of the marathon trip division. He then went on to run a brilliant race to come 3rd in last year's Grand National, although well beaten he was always staying on well to the line. He heads into the Festival off the back of two runs this year, a decent 3rd place finish in the X Country at Cheltenham in January, before going on to having a prep run over an inadequate trip and over Hurdles, most likely to get him right for the feature race come festival week, the same tactics they employed with Tiger Roll for years. He still looks the one to beat, at a track that always brings the absolute best out of him. 


8yo Bay Gelding

Target - Kim Muir

Pretty much already confirmed to go for the Kim Muir come festival week by his trainer, he arrives into the race off the back of a very taking display in the 25 runner Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park in January, only to be beaten by Carefully Selected by a short head, keeping on well to the line. That was a much better run then the previous effort before that, which would have out him right for festival week. The one slight concern is he does seem to hold his best form for Gowran Park, as his last couple of decent runs have been there. But he is a thorough stayer who, providing all goes well on the way around will be staying on up the Cheltenham Hill.   

Fil Dor

5yo Grey Gelding

Target - Coral Cup, Turners, Plate or County Hurdle

Judging by his entries for Festival week, it is clear connections are unsure on whether to go hurdling or chasing with him. He was a winner on his chasing debut at Navan back in November, before going on to disappoint in a Grade 1 Chase at Leopardstown over the Christmas period. He did make a bad mistake at the 3rd last on that occasion, which Jack Kennedy stated dented his confidence, and that shown next time out when he was well beaten in the Irish Arkle, only managing to finish 5th on that occasion. He bounced back to form however, when going back to the smaller obstacles and winning the Grade 3 Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park, beating Sharjah by half a length. He seems to have more confidence over the smaller obstacles, so a handicap over hurdles might be where they aim, Gordon Elliott has stated it all depends on what the handicapper does with him. The decision will be based of that.

Fury Road

6yo Bay Gelding

Target - Ryanair

Gordon Elliott was very impressed with his run last time out in the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival, saying he thought his mount had the favourite under pressure at the final fence before he pulled away in the closing stages. Although he is more of a stayer judging by his previous form, he could use those traits to best effect in the Ryanair should there be better ground, with the ante-post market leader Allaho now out the race, and Gordon Elliott has stated the step down in trip will not be a hindrance given the testing nature of Cheltenham. He always runs a consistent race, no matter what trip he is running at, so with the race enow wide open, it could be a bit of good plotting by connections.      


9yo Bay Gelding

Target - X Country

A horse that has been firmly targeted at the Cross Country this Festival, Gordon Elliott has stated he has had a few away days over the cross-country fences to familiarise him with them, and they intend on sending him across to Cheltenham at the earliest opportunity, to get some more schooling over the fences, ready for this contest. He was once thought of as a gold cup horse, and he ran in the race last season, finishing a pretty decent fourth, but with Conflated being the yards main Gold Cup hope, they have said they want the best chance of winning as many races as possible, hence why he isn't going to contest in the Gold Cup either. The yard has said he has taken very well to the cross-country fences, and he should not be underestimated for the race come festival week.  

Halka Du Tabert

6yo Bay Mare

Target - Mares Novices' Hurdle

A former point to point winner, who won her bumper debut back in November, they wasted no time in getting her over Hurdles, as she then had her debut at Naas in December. She was a very impressive winner on that day, beating 24 other rivals with absolute ease, by 11 lengths, with the second-place horse coming out and winning since. She then took the step up in class when contesting in a Grade 3 Novices Hurdle, finishing 2 and a half lengths behind Ashroe Diamond at Fairyhouse. Judging by her debut performance she has some talent, but would need to have improved pretty quick from her last run to land a real blow come festival week. 


6yo Bay Gelding

Target - Pertemps Final

A horse that was mightily impressive in his Pertemps qualifier at Leopardstown on his penultimate run, he didn't get the rub of the green next time out when going back there over Dublin Racing Festival weekend. They went far to steady and he got caught in a pocket, and couldn't quicken up enough to get back to them, but his run to qualify for this race the time before was a career best, shooting him up 18lbs to a career high mark if 138. He looks tailor made for this race, should he reproduce the level of form shown when qualifying for this race back in December. 

Pied Piper

5yo Chesnut Gelding

Target - Champion Hurdle or County Hurdle

Another one of the yards horses that might go down the handicap route depending on what the handicapper does with them, he has an entry in both the Champion Hurdle and County Hurdle. His career record over Hurdles sits at a respectable 4 wins in just 8 career starts, with multiple Grade 2 wins to his name, including at Cheltenham in January of last year. He ran in the Triumph Hurdle last season, where he finished well to come 3rd behind Vauban and Fil Dor, only getting beat by just under 3 lengths. He won on his seasonal debut at Cheltenham before going on to land the Grade 2 WKD Hurdle at Down Royal, but hasn't exactly looked at his best of late, coming last in the Mathesons Hurdle at Leopardstown over the Christmas period, and then was beaten by 7 lengths in the Irish Champion Hurdle. He does look to lack the quality to be a Champion Hurdle runner, but could quite easily become a Graded horse in a handicap depending on what the handicapper does with him for the festival. Keep an eye on where he goes.

Riviere D'etel

6yo Bay Mare

Target - Mares Chase

A horse that has missed quite a bit of the season due to a back issue, which has since been operated on to sort, she might lack the fitness edge compared to some of her rivals having not run since November, but she has been out and jumped a few fences at Fairyhouse in potential preparation for the Mares Chase come Festival week. There are slight question marks on whether she will make it in time, but connections are hopeful and Gordon Elliott has said she can't be underestimated should she line up. Her record over fences sits at 3 wins in 9 career starts, Including a Grade 2 last season.      


6yo Bay Gelding

Target - Stayers Hurdle

A horse that has really come on leaps and bounds since going over staying trips, he won the Hatton's Grace on his seasonal reappearance, staying on well to win in the final strides. He then stepped up to 3 miles for the very first time in the Galmoy Hurdle, a race that he won with absolute ease by 15 lengths, keeping on strongly when Davy Russell asked him to wake up, he won that contest quite impressively indeed. He has a very good record of 8 wins in just 11 hurdle starts, two of the defats came in the Champion Hurdle and Paddy Power Champion Hurdle last year, where it has been said since the 2 miles is far too short for him now. Gordon Elliott has stated he has been very impressed with this horse's transition to staying trips, and he really feels Teahupoo is his best chance of a winner for the festival week.  

The Bosses Oscar

8yo Bay Gelding

Target - Pertemps

This horse was very well fancied for the race back in 2021, sent off the favourite he finished 5 lengths behind Mrs Milner that day. His form hasn't exactly been seen to best effect since then, and it's been reported he has had severe sinuses problems which have now hopefully been rectified, before going into festival week. His qualifier was a decent effort however, only getting beaten by just over 2 lengths, he didn't particularly jump well but kept on well to the line, which will set him in good stead ready for another tilt at a race he ran very well in previously.   


6yo Chesnut Gelding

Target - Champion Hurdle

Another horse with a few problems this year, they have now hopefully been rectified and although he finished last in the Irish Champion Hurdle, he was only beaten by just over 8 lengths, when given who was contesting in the race, is a decent run. He did slightly loose his form before that run though, and hasn't won since Down Royal in October of 2021. He would have to bounce back to his early hurdling days to land a blow in the red-hot champion hurdle this year.