Friday 23 March 2018

Elliott stars get Royal nod despite rain threat

Trainer Gordon Elliot. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile
Trainer Gordon Elliot. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Gordon Elliott is hoping for rain for his younger horses but has committed both Don Poli and Apple's Jade to run at Down Royal this weekend.

Up to 8mm is due this morning and the ground could yet have a role in whether Ruby Walsh rides Don Poli or Valseur Lido in Saturday's feature Chase.

Kim Bailey will have his first runner at Down Royal when The Last Samuri, which was second to Rule The World in the Grand National in April, makes his seasonal reappearance in the same race. Rule The World's rider then, David Mullins, is expected to ride Valseur Lido for Henry de Bromhead if Walsh partners Don Poli.

Elliott said: "Don Poli will run and Apple's Jade will run in the WKD Hurdle (tomorrow); both are fine on good ground. It's the other horses in general I want rain for.

"In the Grade Two Titanic Belfast Chase, I'll maybe run two: Lord Scoundrel and either Outlander or Roi Des Francs."

That is a race that Gigginstown have seven of the 13 possible runners in, while Michael O'Leary's stud also showed its prowess at the entry stage for the Paddy Power Cork Grand National, with eight of the 25 possibles.

Gavin Cromwell looks set to be represented by two runners and is hopeful. "As De Pique beat Raz De Maree the last day and I'll be happy if either of them wins! Both are in very good form and Raz De Maree won the race before for the late Dessie Hughes."

Chris Hayes, meanwhile, has been ruled out for up to four weeks after breaking his wrist in a fall when riding out in the UAE yesterday morning. Martin Ferris faces three months on the sidelines after breaking his left leg in a fall on Monday at Galway.

Freddy Tylicki, who remains hospitalised with a suspected spinal injury after a horrific melee at Kempton on Monday, is said to be in a stable condition. Lisa Hancock, CEO of the Injured Jockeys Fund, said: "There will be no further update today from either Freddy's family or the staff at St Georges hospital although one may follow later this week. Freddy's family are very thankful for the support and best wishes that they continue to receive and appreciate the chance for some privacy at this time."

Crowley has issued a statement too. Conscious of how much worse it could have been, having emerged from the shocking incident with merely a broken nose, Crowley said that "all (his) thoughts and prayers were with Freddy".

Meanwhile, Joseph O'Brien gives Intricately "a little bit of a chance" in the $1m Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Friday, with brother Donnacha to ride.

"It's a very tight track and her best runs were at the Curragh, which is considerably different to Santa Anita, which is much tighter. I'm very happy with her form, however, and how she has settled in here."

The Gurkha, Aidan O'Brien's star miler this year before colic ended his career, has had his stallion fee set at €25,000 for 2017. Last year's leading miler Gleneagles has had his fee reduced to €40,000 from €60,000.

Irish Independent

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