Blackmore lands a 'Blow' for Elliott
Gordon Elliott claimed yet another feature prize at Thurles yesterday as Blow By Blow led home a 1-2 for Gigginstown House Stud in the Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle, and it could have been better.
The 7/1 chance - which claimed the Champion Bumper at the 2016 Punchestown Festival - has endured a frustrating time and was found wanting in the Grade One won by Next Destination at Naas last month.
The seven-year-old travelled well in this Grade Three contest and tracked his stable companion Roaring Bull when he took the lead off Not Many Left on the home turn.
Blow By Blow went clear between the last two flights and Rachael Blackmore kept him up to his work to see off Gun Digger by 14 lengths, but it could have been a 1-2-3 for Elliott and Gigginstown had Roaring Bull not taken a tired fall at the final flight.
"The horse ran for Rachael and is the first one to get a tune out of him this year, so it's great," said Elliott. "He's a big horse and is a Grade One winner so has plenty of ability. He might go to Cheltenham for something next - he's in the Martin Pipe, Albert Bartlett and all those races."
The Cullentra supremo and Gigginstown later doubled up when Sir Carno (5/2 fav) easily landed the three-mile handicap hurdle in the hands of Jack Kennedy.
Local handler Denis Hogan was another to record a brace - first steering Youcantcallherthat (12/1) to victory in the mares' novice chase, before sending out Moskovite to justify 2/1 favouritism under Patrick Mullins in the bumper.
Meanwhile, Elliott's Mitchouka is among 42 entries for the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Galway handler Patrick Kelly and owner Philip Reynolds have teamed up to win the last two renewals of the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle with Mall Dini and Presenting Percy.
They are chasing the three-timer with the lightly-raced novice Eagle Lion, one of 52 entries for the race on March 15.
Alan Fleming's Tully East, a winner at the Festival last March, is among 94 entries for the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase on the same day.
Mick Jazz, winner of the Ryanair Hurdle for the Elliott team, is among 88 in The County Handicap Hurdle on March 16. Willie Mullins has put in 16, including Bleu Et Rouge, Max Dynamite and Sandsend.
Flawless Escape is one of 19 contenders, from a total of 146 entries, for Elliott in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle. Mullins' 19-strong team features Duc Des Genievres and Carter McKay.