Elliott strikes back as Frankel's offspring keep shining
The Dublin Racing Festival didn't go to plan for Gordon Elliott with just one winner last weekend as his lead over Willie Mullins in the trainers' championship was cut to just under €250,000, but he got things back on track at Fairyhouse yesterday with a 53/1 three-timer.
Frankel maintained his unbeaten record as a sire over jumps (three wins from three runners) as Commentariolus - heavily supported before the off (9/2 from 10/1) while stablemate Park Paddocks drifted alarmingly before finishing third (6/4 to 11/4) - made a winning debut over hurdles in the opener for the Meath trainer.
Unplaced in his four Flat runs in France, Elliott's four-year-old was green at times but responded emphatically to Keith Donoghue's urgings in the home straight to win cosily by five lengths.
Elliott said: "He probably wants softer ground but we'll have a bit of fun with him and hopefully he'll win something else again.
"We'll try and find another little race for him somewhere. That probably wasn't the strongest race."
Jockeys' championship leader Davy Russell rode a double for Elliott through favourites Lackaneen Leader and Graineyhill, while Cork trainer Eoghan O'Grady broke his duck for the season in dramatic style with Westerner Point (6/1) edging out favourite Drumacoo in the Rated Chase under Philip Enright.
Title rival Mullins is likely to strike back at Thurles today, however, and such is his wealth of novice chasers, stablemates Turcagua and Pylonthepressure take each other in the opening beginners' chase (1.40).
Turcagua - rated 139 over hurdles and the mount of David Mullins - was forced to play second fiddle to another Closutton inmate, Bonbon Au Miel, on his fencing debut but preference is for Pylonthepressure which should improve for last month's comeback run behind Sutton Place.
Mullins is double-handed in the Horse & Jockey Rated Novice Hurdle (3.15) with the top weight Didero Vallis well fancied as he reverts from handicap company but Mount Hanover could be the one to beat in the five-runner contest.
Henry de Bromhead's runner travelled strongly but didn't get home over three miles at Leopardstown - where he had Didero Vallis well behind - and dropping back to 2m4f can see Dylan Robinson's mount return to the winner's enclosure.
Itsonlyrocknroll has strong claims for Mullins in the maiden hurdle (3.50) but the Mouse Morris' charge Last Man Standing has been knocking on the door and can score.