| 11.4°C Dublin

Extraordinary rise of Elliott should pique Festival interest


Trainer Gordon Elliott. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Trainer Gordon Elliott. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile


Trainer Gordon Elliott. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Cheltenham will feel like the centre of the sporting universe for much of next week and it's probably all too easy for those uninterested in racing to see the Festival as some kind of High Mass for a closed community.

The broad assumption is that you are born into such a world, but the burgeoning success of Gordon Elliott tells a rather different story.

Son of a panel-beater, Elliott expects to have roughly 30 runners in the Cotswolds and, given a fair number of them will carry the Gigginstown silks, they won't be there for the scenery.

The Meath trainer's rise to prominence has been nothing short of extraordinary given he had not had a single Irish winner when saddling the 33/1 shot Silver Birch to victory in the 2007 Grand National.

And now Elliott has a live chance of unseating Willie Mullins as Irish champion trainer with his season earnings currently climbing to almost three-and-a-half-million euro. He also, of course, ­already has claimed the one Cheltenham prize still to elude the remarkable Mullins, a Gold Cup.

For all the conventional England v Ireland narrative in Gloucestershire next week, Irish eyes will surely be just as keenly focused on the more parochial rivalry between our own two giants of the National Hunt game.

Join our FREE TO PLAY 'Independent.ie Fantasy Cheltenham Racing' game, in association with BoyleSports.

 Pick your stable of trainers, jockeys and horses to take the Cheltenham Challenge.

To enter 'CLICK HERE'

  • Be in with a chance to win VIP trips to both the Irish and Aintree Grand Nationals and thousands of free bets in runner up prizes
  • Available to play on mobile and desktop before and during each day of Cheltenham Festival (14th – 17th March)
  • Pick up the Irish Independent on Tuesday March 14th for your exclusive €5 FREE matched bet voucher.
  • Bet €5 on the 1.30 Supreme Novices Chase, Get a €5 FREE MATCHED BET for the 3.20 Champion Chase.

Irish Independent