'I nearly didn't run him' - Elliott reveals near-miss with Galway feaure hero Borice
Gordon Elliott's golden touch when it comes to the Galway Plate continued in Ballybrit when he trained Borice to glory in the showpiece race on day three of the festival.
The ex-French chaser was Elliott's best chance of his five runners in the tote.com-sponsored €300,000 event and, nicely weighted with just 10-2 on his back, he delivered an impressive performance to secure a third Plate success in four years for Meath handler Elliott.
Borice edged out Black Corton, Snugsborough Benny and Peregrine Run in a thrilling finish, with Elliott revealing afterwards that he considered not running him due to the going.
"I was worried about the ground with this lad. I thought the ground was too dry for him," Elliott explained.
"I was hemming and hawing about him and whether to run him but Simon (Munir, co owner) flew over from Nice this morning and Anthony Bromley came over so it's brilliant."
Borice ran in both the Paddy Power Chase in Leopardstown after Christmas and the Thyestes at Gowran Park at the end of January but failed to make an impression in either.
"He was sent over to us from Simon and Isaac (Souede, co owner) and the plan was to go for a big staying chase and I fancied him in the Paddy Power but I'd say he hadn't filled into himself coming from France and maybe I ran him a bit soon.
"But it was great he won today so he'll be a nice horse for all those staying chases."
Bryony Frost on Black Corton was bidding to emulate Sarah Collen, the only female jockey to win this race on Bold Flyer 30 years ago, and they looked well placed turning for home. However, a near-miss with a loose horse didn't do their chances any favours and that opened the door for Borice.
And the master of Cullentra revealed he will target the Aintree Grand National now.
"It's been lucky race for us and it's nice to win another Galway Plate. We thought he was (their best chance) all along," said Elliott.
"He was paper favourite this morning and he obviously drifted a bit with the ground but it was a great run. We'll enjoy today and dream about it but that's what he was sent to me to be, an English National horse."
The race marked one of the biggest wins of jockey Luke Dempsey's career.
"It's brilliant, it's great to ride winners on these big days and I'm very thankful to the owners and Gordon," he said.
"I'm very lucky. Gordon has been very good to me over the years and it's great to repay him with a big win. The Plate is a massive race and it's not easy to even get rides in these races, so it's brilliant. It's what you get up in the mornings for."