THE JUMPS season is about to get going good and proper and who better to hear from than Gordon Elliott.
The top Irish trainer is ready to rumble and the Betfair ambassador fills us in on his team at Down Royal on Saturday.
Best Chance – Ballyadam (13.15)
12.40 Quilixios & Glorious Zoff
Quilixios is a lovely horse who won his only start in France last spring and I was pleased with what he showed on his debut for us at Punchestown a few weeks ago where he won nicely.
He’s a fine, big horse and is more than just a juvenile hurdler I’d say but he should do well for us this season and I’d like to think he will take beating on what he showed at Punchestown.
Glorious Zoff was bought at the sales a few months ago after showing some ability on the flat and he took really well to hurdles last week at Sligo where he won quite impressive.
He jumped great at Sligo and travelled very well and the switch to jumping looks to have brought him forward considerably. He’s another nice juvenile for the coming months and he should run well too.
He’s a lovely horse and I’m hoping he will make up into a very good novice hurdler this season. He came to us around this time last year and always showed a lot so I thought he would take beating first time out at Navan but things didn’t quite go to plan and it turned out to be quite a good bumper too.
He then won very easily at Downpatrick when Jamie (Codd) was very impressed with him and he’s been going well since he came back in off a summer off. He has schooled well and looks to be in good shape so I’m hoping he will run very well but I know he will improve for this run.
13.50 The Very Man, Campeador, Recent Revelations & Gold Des Bois (reserve)
The Very Man disappointed us at Tipperary last time. He was on a great run going into that race and was looking to make it five wins on the spin but he never looked happy and maybe the ground was a little on the quick side for him.
He is talented horse and seems back to himself so hopefully he can put Tipperary behind him although he has plenty of weight in what looks a competitive handicap.
Campeador was once a potentially high class handicap hurdler but things haven’t happened for him over the last couple of seasons. He has dropped down the weights over the last year which will give him a chance but he is going to have to improve dramatically on his comeback at Punchestown to play a leading role here.
Recent Revelations was a decent enough juvenile hurdler last season and ran very well in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham. He started back with a couple of decent runs in defeat in the summer but his recent form is poor and he looks to have it all to do. Maybe he just needs a good break and that could be an option if he doesn’t fire here.
Gold Des Bois is a nice type who came to us a few months ago and he won nicely on his first start for the yard at Clonmel at the start of the month. I think there could be a nice handicap in him as he is a strong traveller who jumps well and despite his lack of experience I could see him running well. It was nice to see the runner-up from his Clonmel maiden come out and win nicely at Wexford on Sunday.
14.25 Alpha Des Obeaux, Delta Work, Presenting Percy, Ravenhill & The Storyteller
Alpha Des Obeaux is a grand horse who I hope will win a nice race for us this season but I would say he is likely to come up short here. He was third in this race last year and it would be nice if he could run to a similar level again and he will come on for his recent run at Punchestown.
His season will probably be geared towards an English or Irish National but he can still run creditably at this level so he might run in a couple of more races like this.
Delta Work is in great form and seems to have done very well over the summer. I’m really happy with him and I’m looking forward to getting him started although he is a horse who improves a lot from his first run of the season.
He was well beaten in this race last year before going on to win a pair of Grade 1s at Leopardstown so that is the sort of progress he can make from his first run of the season. On his day he is a top drawer staying chaser and it’s great to have him back and we know he will improve a lot from here.
We are extremely lucky to have been sent a horse of Presenting Percy’s quality and I just hope that we can get him to maintain the high class level of form he showed for Pat Kelly. He may not have won last season but he was knocking on the door in some good races and he wasn’t done with when he fell at the second last in the Gold Cup in March.
At home he has been coming along nicely and he is working like a very nice staying chaser so I’m hoping all his old ability is still intact. He will come on for this run but I’d expect a strong showing from him.
Ravenhill isn’t the easiest to place with his rating and I don’t want to start asking him to shoulder big weights in top handicaps through the winter when he wouldn’t be at his best anyway.
He is going to struggle at this level but for the time being I want to keep him to these types of conditions races and maybe in the spring time we can look at going into handicaps with him. I’d say three and a half miles on decent ground is optimum for him.
The Storyteller has had a good time of things over the last few months and he won very nicely at Punchestown last time when he defeated Tout Est Permis in a Grade 3 over three miles.
He had fitness on his side that day but I was pleased with the manner in which he did things and Keith (Donoghue) gets a really good tune out of him too. At this level he does struggle a bit but he is fit and his confidence is high and I could see him running a big race.
15.00 Battleoverdoyen & Samcro
Battleoverdoyen’s season didn’t quite go on in the manner that we hoped it would earlier this year.
However, I thought that he actually ran very well in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham until the point where his stamina gave out so I think that we will try and keep him to shorter trips this season and this sort of trip or even less suits him well. He is in good shape and seems to be going well at home so he should represent us well.
When he came back to win at Cheltenham last season Samcro gave me a huge thrill. I know his career has had its ups and downs since he was a novice hurdler but he is still a top class horse on his day and I’ve learnt a few things about him over the last few seasons.
I think we will try and space out his runs and I don’t think that he’ll run on bottomless ground again, that was a mistake I made at Limerick last Christmas. He’s in very good form and everyone is very happy with him at home and he does tend to run well fresh so I’m hoping he will be right there at the finish. We’ll keep him to this sort of trip for the season.
15.35 Cuneo & Paranoid
Cuneo is a horse we picked up at the sales early last month. On his day he has plenty of ability and I was happy enough with his first run for us at Gowran when he was well beaten but he would have needed that run as we didn’t do much with him after we got him. He seems to have improved from Gowran and I’d like to think he could be competitive in a handicap off his current mark
Paranoid won a handicap hurdle for us at Galway earlier this month when he having his first run for the yard. He’s a horse that should be able to mix it between hurdles and fences this season and he did run well in a beginners chase at Galway over an extended two and three quarter miles so that would give me hope that he will stay this far and he does shape like a stayer at home so I think he will cope with this trip.
16.10 Sir Gerhard & Bacchus Lescribaa
Sir Gerhard is a horse with plenty of potential. He looked very good when he won his point a year ago and he came to us after going to the sales. It was always the intention to go steadily with him and give him plenty of time before starting him out for the season and he is showing us that he is ready to start out for the season. He is working nicely and seems very well in himself and it would be nice to think he might kick off his career on the track with a win.
Bacchus Lescribaa has worked a bit better than he has run so far so I’m hoping we might see a bit more from him but this will be his last start in bumpers and his efforts so far would suggest handicaps could represent his best chance of success.