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Gordon Elliott keen to keep Galvin for Cheltenham mission

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Jockey Davy Russell and groom Carly Scott celebrate with Galvin after winning the Savills Steeplechase on day three of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Jockey Davy Russell and groom Carly Scott celebrate with Galvin after winning the Savills Steeplechase on day three of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Jockey Davy Russell and groom Carly Scott celebrate with Galvin after winning the Savills Steeplechase on day three of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Gordon Elliott has reiterated his desire to head straight for the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Galvin – despite entering him for the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown next month.

The eight-year-old emerged as a serious contender for the blue riband when lunging late to deny last year’s Gold Cup runner-up A Plus Tard back-to-back wins in Leopardstown’s Savills Chase in December.

Elliott stated afterwards that Galvin would not run again before the showpiece meeting at Prestbury Park in March, but did enter him for the Irish Gold Cup last week. But while Paddy Power are offering a €150,000 bonus to any horse that can complete the Gold Cup double, the Cullentra handler is keen to stick to Plan A.

“He’s in at Leopardstown but I’d imagine he’ll go straight to the Gold Cup,” the trainer said. “We just stuck him in to give him an option, but he’ll go straight to the Gold Cup.”

Galvin is a best-priced 5/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, second-favourite behind A Plus Tard at 7/2.

Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson has paid tribute to retiring rider Jerry McGrath and is very keen to keep him involved at Seven Barrows.

McGrath has been forced to hang up his saddle at the age of 31 as injuries the Cork native suffered in a fall during an all-weather bumper last year have failed to heal sufficiently.

McGrath spent the majority of his career with Henderson, who provided him with both his Cheltenham Festival victories, on Une Artiste in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle in 2012 and Beware The Bear in the 2019. 

“He’s been a very special man to us. He’s been at Seven Barrows a long time and he is part of the place – and we really want him to remain here,” said Henderson.

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