Elliott aiming to overtake Mullins in title battle
It is somewhat perplexing that Gordon Elliott has 19 entries at Limerick's Munster National meeting on Sunday, whereas Willie Mullins has one.
The apparent heir apparent leads Mullins in the table by six winners but, ominously for Elliott, the perennial champion is now ahead in terms of prize-money after a superbly profitable weekend at Gowran and Tipperary. And that's what matters.
It is notable that Paddy Power initially went even-money Mullins for the title, which he has won nine years in succession, after news emerged of the Gigginstown split. A week later and he is 4/9, with the in-form Co Meath handler out from odds-on to 7/4.
Mullins is a director at Tramore Racecourse but Elliott could be the man to follow at the seaside venue today. He saddles Broken Soul in the closing event and this one is the lock of the day.
Some of these races at Tramore are pretty run-of-the-mill and it is true that Broken Soul has already been well-held at odds-on but his best efforts look more than good enough to suffice here for a yard in form.
Elliott can also strike for main ally Gigginstown in the opening maiden hurdle. Figuarative is no great shakes but his mark of 112 might suffice in this ordinary company. The disappointing Henry Howard is Mullins' runner here but the relevance of his being the yard's sole representative on the card should not be overstated.
The excellent Danny Mullins has been the chief beneficiary of the fine recent run of the John Ryan barn and the pair may strike with the hat-trick-seeking Father Jed in the handicap hurdle for horses rated under 110.
Smart bumper performer Vigil was backed as if defeat was not countenanced in Navan's staying maiden yesterday but the 4/9 shot came up short, the Noel Meade-trained She's A Star proving three parts of a length too strong for the selection.
"I didn't know what to expect: we don't do a lot with her at home as she's very buzzy," local trainer Meade said.
"I loved her last year and went and bought her full brother. She's not very big but she's tough and I'd say she'd win on the Flat again."
Eddie Lynam, who also trains in Co Meath, struck with a 55/1 double. Future Icon pounced in the apprentices' sprint handicap under Ana O'Brien, while Miss Power improved on her debut run to score in the sprint maiden for Robbie Downey.