Elliot: Shadow can shade triumph

Meath handler going to Festival confident

Niall Cronin

Gordon Elliott is planning on running a select team at Punchestown next week, with the trainer hoping to target some of the handicaps after a somewhat frustrating Cheltenham Festival.

The Meath-based trainer enjoyed success with classy bumper horse Don Cossack at Fairyhouse over Easter. However, he is on a break now ahead of a hurdling campaign next season.

Elliott is looking forward to saddling Shadow Catcher who failed to live up to expectations in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

"We had high hopes for Shadow Catcher in the Triumph Hurdle but he didn't run his race," admitted Elliott.

"However, he's come out of the race very well and we'll be looking for a much better run in the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle on the final day. He's in great form at home -- he's bucking and squealing -- and is ready for next week.

"We've always thought a lot of him and he's certainly better than he was able to show in England. Hopefully we'll see that next week."

The Aintree Grand National-winning trainer also ran His Excellency in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and he is another set to reappear next week.


"We're still keeping our options open with him," the trainer revealed.

"There's a winners-of-one for four-year-olds, which could be the right type of race for him, but he has an alternative engagement in a handicap."

Elliott added: "He's a bit of a monkey but it's clear he has plenty of ability so we'll take our chance with him again."

Another four-year-old from the Capranny outfit is Cause Of Causes and he will bid to break his maiden in Grade One company.

"He has been a bit unfortunate not to pick up his maiden, but we're going to step him up in class and run in the Grade One on the Friday. He'll be taking on the older horses for the first time and has a bit to do on what he has shown so far, but if the ground runs fast, that'll be ideal for him."

The handicap route is on the agenda for the classy Dirar (pictured) who bounced back from a frustrating run at Cheltenham to win at Downpatrick the following week.

"Dirar did us proud when winning the Ebor at York a couple of seasons ago, but not for the first time he didn't enjoy a lot of luck at Cheltenham.

"He came out of the race in good order and showed that when winning at Downpatrick shortly afterwards.

"He had a disappointing trip to America prior to Cheltenham but he seems to be back to himself and he'll probably take his chance in a handicap hurdle. He'll have plenty of weight to carry but he'll definitely appreciate good ground and we'll be looking for a good run from him."