'Jetstream' gets Festival lift-off from Elliott
Published 09/02/2016 | 02:30
Gordon Elliott believes he could have around 20 runners at next month's Cheltenham Festival, with Jetstream Jack adding his name to a growing list after victory at Musselburgh yesterday.
The Co Meath handler lies second in the Irish trainers' championship - more than €1 million behind Willie Mullins - but a similar figure ahead of his nearest pursuer, Henry de Bromhead.
Elliott's eye for an opportunity has brought frequent visits to Scotland, and the rise in quality of his string has meant the 37-year-old has emerged as a plausible future threat to Mullins's domination.
Leading the charge will be Don Cossack, last year's top-rated chaser, which is joint-favourite in places for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, despite an indifferent performance in winning his final warm-up.
"We gave him a break for a couple of weeks after his run at Thurles and we haven't decided if we will put cheekpieces on him," said Elliott. "If the ground dried up, we'd leave them off. If it became a bit of a slog, we would put them on to help him through the race. He might have a little racecourse gallop around Leopardstown, but he's plenty fit."
Elliott pointed out No More Heroes, a leading figure in the RSA Chase, as the other Cheltenham runner he was particularly looking forward to, while Jetstream Jack is in contention for the conditional jockeys' handicap.
"We'll see what weight he gets," he said. "He'll be a nice horse when he jumps fences."