Saturday 24 February 2018

Elliott eyes Classic prize with strong Warwick team

Elliott: Warwick trip on the cards Photo: SPORTSFILE
Elliott: Warwick trip on the cards Photo: SPORTSFILE

Thomas Kelly

Gordon Elliott will be hoping his prolonged purple patch will continue this weekend in Warwick where he's aiming four horses at the Betfred Classic Chase on Saturday.

Fresh from Sunday's treble at Fariyhouse, the in-form County Meath handler is considering this valuable handicap chase over three miles five furlongs for Roi Du Mee, Captain Von Trappe, Mala Beach and Unic De Bersy.

The two other entries from this side of the Irish Sea are the Mouse Morris-trained pair of Dromnea and Folsom Blue.

Paul Nicholls, responsible for last year's winner Hawkes Point, is doubly-represented with Black Thunder, which unseated his rider in last Saturday's Welsh Grand National, and Vivaldi Collonges.

Alan King has two lively possibles in Midnight Prayer and Sego Success, while Kerry Lee, successful with Mountainous in the Welsh National, can call on Russe Blanc. Other notable entries include the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Algernon Pazham, Venetia Williams' Houblon Des Obeaux and Colin Tizzard's Golden Chieftain.

On the same card, Willie Mullins has given exciting prospect Pont Alexandre the option of the running in the Hampton Novices' Chase.

The eight-year-old overcame a 998-day absence when making a successful fencing debut at Punchestown last month.

That performance laid down a marker for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham which had been the scene of his last start before his enforced lay-off when finishing third to The New One in the 2013 Neptune Novices' Hurdle.

Mullins has also handed entries to the promising Black Hercules, a winning chasing debutant at Navan, and Fairyhouse scorer Roi Des Francs.

His English counterpart Nicholls has put Silsol and Vivaldi Collonges in the 18-strong list for the three-mile heat. Other possibles includes Harry Fry's Bitofapuzzle, the Brian Ellison-trained Definitly Red and Emily Gray from Kim Bailey's stable.

Meanwhile, Mullins' No 2 jockey at Closutton, Paul Townend, is expected to be back in action at Gowran Park on Thursday week.

The former champion jump jockey has been on the sidelines since standing himself down after finishing fourth on Beau Mome at Leopardstown on December 26.

It was first his ride since suffering a bruised bone in his leg after being unseated aboard the Mullins-trained Stone Hard in the Grade Two Navan Novice Hurdle on December 13.

The weather continues to hit hard across the water with Newcastle abandoning tomorrow's meeting, while today's card at Fakenham was also called off yesterday.

Irish Independent

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