Elliott draws blank on Ayr raid
GORDON Elliott travelled to Ayr yesterday with four runners but this cross-channel raid ended without a winner as the Meath handler had to settle for just placed money.
In the opening mares hurdle, Elliott saddled two runners which carried plenty of support in the betting ring. However, both failed to cope with Lucia Bay, with the more fancied of the pair -- 5/4 favourite Mae's Choice -- finishing runner-up, while his other runner Narjawa took third.
The progressive winner was trained by Lucinda Russell who went on to complete a treble on the card.
The Kinross-based handler is enjoying another excellent season and this hat-trick followed on from a double at Newcastle last week.
Blenheim Brook, under Peter Buchanan, was the star of her treble as as he secured his second victory over fences by beating the highly regarded Lie Forrit in the novices' chase.
"Blenheim Brook is really establishing himself as a stayer and after seeing him do that today, I think we'll go for the four-miler (National Hunt Chase) at Cheltenham," said the winning trainer.
"Ideally, he'd like softer ground but you'd hope he'd handle it all right over that trip. The horses are running well, but us trainers are never happy. We've had a double and a treble at the last couple of meetings, but I'd prefer four or five winners!"
Russell completed a fine day's work as Quacity beat his rivals comprehensively in the novices' handicap chase.
Meanwhile, Elliott's other two runners were Eight Is My Number, which trailed in a distant third to Blenheim Brook, and Don't Back Down, which finished fifth of six in the novice hurdle behind the impressive Jason Maguire-ridden Sydney Paget.
The Grand National winning-trainer also saddled a runner at Wolverhampton but Face Value, which had won at the track last Saturday, could only finish fourth in the closing 12-furlong handicap.
Elliott will be hoping for better luck this Sunday when Gold Cup hope Jessies Dream is set to make his eagerly anticipated seasonal debut in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.