HomeRacing irishGordon Elliot Previews his runners at the Aintree Grand National

Gordon Elliot Previews his runners at the Aintree Grand National

Trainer Gordon Elliott admits there would not be “any better way” for jockey Davy Russell to conclude his career than by riding in the Randox Grand National at Aintree on Saturday 15th April.

The 43 year old, who recorded back-to-back Randox Grand National wins on the great Tiger Roll in 2018 and 2019, initially retired in December last before returning to the saddle less than four weeks later. He made his comeback in order to assist Elliott when stable jockey Jack Kennedy broke his leg.

Russell last rode at the Cheltenham Festival on March 17th, when he gave up his ride on subsequent Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup third Conflated after feeling sore.

Speaking today at his Cullentra House Stables in County Meath, Elliott said: “Galvin is Davy’s (Russell) ride and he is there if he wants to ride him. He was sore after Cheltenham and is a busy man with his own business.

“Davy has been part of Cullentra since I started training and is coming to the end of his riding days but I wouldn’t want him to finish on the note he did at Cheltenham. He was very sore and made the right decision not to ride on at Cheltenham, that’s the man he is – he wasn’t going to do wrong by the horse or the owners. I’d like to give him a better send off than that and I don’t think there would be any better way to finish off than riding in the Grand National.

“If Jack Kennedy isn’t back in time there will be plenty of other rides for him at the meeting. I am not 100 per cent sure what he is going to do but I’d like to see him have one last hurrah. At the Dublin Racing Festival, up until he got his fall, he was riding like a lad in his 20s and for me and anyone that loves horseracing he deserves a better send off than he had at Cheltenham.”

Running through his Randox Grand National challengers in 2023, when he will be seeking a record-equalling fourth success, Elliott continued: “Delta Workwas third in the race last year. He got a little bit far back early but ran a very good race. He was a bit careful but he is in great form now and we couldn’t be happier with him. He is very, very well.

Delta Work

“With Galvin the drier the ground, the better chance he has. He will come on a lot from Cheltenham and is in good form. We are very, very happy with him.

Fury Road will be stepping up to this trip for the first time. He is a Grade One horse and a classy horse. Nice ground will suit him and he is in very good form.

Coko Beach ran well in the race last year and won a Grand National Trial at Punchestown.

Escaria Ten travelled well but didn’t get home last year. This year the plan is to ride him a bit differently by just dropping him in and taking our time.

Dunboyne gets in off 10st and is going to wear blinkers. He stays really, really well and if he gets into a rhythm and is not too far back early he could run very, very well.”

Silver Birch handed the then rookie trainer Elliott his first Grand National success back in 2007 while Tiger Roll went on to take the world’s greatest chase in 2018 and 2019. One more win would see Elliott equal the record of training four Grand National winners, which is currently shared by Ginger McCain and Fred Rimell.

Elliott said: “Silver Birch got my name out to people so they knew who I was. But after that I had to prove I could go and train winners. We trained a lot of mid-range winners in the north of England after that and that is what really got us going. That got a lot of owners on board to get us in a great position.

“The Grand National has been a special race to me and I have won it three times. Obviously, I would love to win it again. Hopefully, I have at least another 20 or 30 years of my training career left so hopefully it will happen at some stage.

“If I had to pick a horse to ride this year it would be Delta Work. I rode around Aintree a few times and broke my arm the last time I rode there on a horse called Sheltering for Edward O’Grady (in the 2003 Fox Hunters’ Chase), I didn’t have much luck there as a rider but I was just an ordinary amateur and enjoyed it. I like training a lot more.”

Gordon Elliott with Tiger Roll and Silver Birch

Speaking about his plans for other runners at the Randox Grand National Festival, Elliott said: “Conflated is going for the Bowl. He is in good form and ran very well in the Gold Cup. We are looking forward to running him.

Gerri Colombe goes for the Mildmay Novices’ Chase. He’ll have an entry for Punchestown as well but we would be a bit nervous that the ground might have dried up a bit by then. Not that he needs softer ground, but I just think he is an awful lot more effective with a bit of dig.

“I think Found A Fifty will run in the Top Novices’ Hurdle. He is great form and hasn’t done much wrong this year. I think he is a good horse and will be really excited to go chasing with him next year.

Sire Du Berlais and Teahupoo both go for the Liverpool Hurdle. Sire Du Berlais turns up once or twice a year and is the horse of a lifetime, we are very proud of him.

Irish Point goes in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. He didn’t do much wrong last time and galloped all the way to the line.

“We have kept Absolute Notions fresh for the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle as long as the ground doesn’t go too soft. We could maybe run Landrake along with him. Landrake ran well the last day and three miles will suit him.

Zanahiyr has come out of Cheltenham very well and goes for the Aintree Hurdle. He seems to be enjoying taking his time a little bit and we are looking forward to running him. He would have gone close last year when falling at the last.

Jazzy Matty who won the Boodles at Cheltenham goes for Anniversary Novices Hurdle and is in very good form.”

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