Elliott hits hat-trick at 'happy hunting ground'
SINCE he started training, Gordon Elliott has made Perth his second home and the Co Meath trainer took the Scottish venue by storm yet again with a sparkling 189/1 treble.
The Aintree Grand National-winning trainer has dominated at the track since it provided him with the first victory of his career in 2006 and he regularly arrives in Scotland with a strong team.
What was notable about this hat-trick was that the winners were ridden by three different jockeys, starting with Richard Johnson, who steered Bayan to a facile success in the novice hurdle. The 4/5 favourite scooted nine lengths clear of the Colm McBratney-trained Wot A Shot which made it a 1-2 for the raiders.
"It has been a happy hunting ground for us, and he wanted to be winning like that as it looked a very weak race, but he has kept the owners happy," Elliott said.
"He ran in the Ulster Derby last time (sixth) but didn't get the best of runs that day. You could run him back over here somewhere under a double penalty, and then maybe find him a handicap on the Flat at Galway."
Local favourite Wilson Renwick, returning from a few weeks out, completed an Elliott double as Feisty Lass (4/1) landed the selling handicap hurdle despite a bout of tail-swishing.
Brian Hughes then helped infrequent winner Dante's King home at 20/1 in the three-mile handicap chase. Elliott said: "I trained my first winner here and we've had 80-odd here since. It's been very good to us."
Another Irish success came through Patrick Griffin's Lisbon which justified 11/4 favouritism in the closing handicap hurdle under James Reveley.
Meanwhile, Declaration Of War has jumped to a prominent position in the betting for Saturday's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown after owners Coolmore suggested the colt was a "possible" runner. He is now quoted as 7/2 second favourite behind Al Kazeem (15/8).
Only Mars appears a guaranteed starter for Aidan O'Brien ahead of today's confirmations, with the sole three-year-old in the field running a career-best to take third behind Dawn Approach in the St James's Palace Stakes.
But Declaration Of War, which was impressive over a mile in Berkshire, has won over similar trips to the 10 furlongs including a Group Three at Dundalk last October.
The only one of O'Brien's trio to miss out is last year's Guineas and Derby hero Camelot, which has been beaten twice by Al Kazeem this season.
An update on Coolmore's website said: "Mars is a probable runner in the Eclipse Stakes on Saturday, Declaration Of War is also a possible for the race. Camelot is unlikely to run."
Coral spokesman David Stevens said: "Declaration Of War bounced back from his Lockinge disappointment in style to win the Queen Anne, and his participation in Saturday's race adds extra spice to the Coral-Eclipse. He could challenge his fellow Royal Ascot winner Al Kazeem for favouritism in the coming days.
"We took the decision not to quote him after Monday's entry stage, but we are delighted that he is set to run, and will settle any bets struck since then as betting without Declaration Of War."
Coral-Eclipse – sponsors' bet: 15/8 Al Kazeem, 7/2 Declaration Of War, 4/1 The Fugue, 5/1 Mars, 7/1 Mukhadram, 10/1 Pastorius, 100/1 Miblish.