Sunday 22 April 2018

Six of the best from red-hot Elliott

Trainer Gordon Elliott. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Trainer Gordon Elliott. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

The Gordon Elliott winners' bandwagon keeps rolling along with the Cullentra handler completing a five-timer at Navan yesterday - spearheaded by the victory of A Toi Phil in the Webster Cup - while he also took the finale at Limerick.

Having got the day off to a flyer with Monbeg Notorious in the opening novice hurdle, Elliott then saddled his 200th winner of the season in Britain and Ireland when Davy Russell bounced back from his tumble on Baltazar D'Allier in the first to steer Chirico Vallis home in the Bective Restaurant Maiden Hurdle.

Russell was always prominent on the 4/7 favourite and didn't have to break too much of a sweat to see off King's War by 12 lengths. Sanibel Island made it a treble by landing the two-mile handicap hurdle before A Toi Phil justified 6/5 favouritism in the feature event of the day.

With Ruby Walsh taking over in the saddle from the sidelined Bryan Cooper (still nursing some bruises as a result of Friday's fall from Death Duty), the market leader jumped well and travelled powerfully into the home straight.

Nearly Nama'd briefly threatened to make a race of it on his first start in over a year, but A Toi Phil quickened up well and skipped over the final fence to seal an eight-length success. Elliott said: "I was worried about how he'd handle the real heavy ground but he was good."

The champion trainer at Cheltenham also took the bumper with Jamie Codd steering home Minellafordollars (6/4), while Jack Kennedy's victory on Double Scores (11/4) in the novice chase at Limerick made for a brilliant 701/1 six-timer.

Willie Mullins
Willie Mullins

Also at Limerick, Willie Mullins kept in touch with Elliott in the trainer's title race by completing a double in the two feature races for mares.

First up was the victory of his Kate Appleby Shoes which ran out a comprehensive winner of the Kerry Group EBF Shannon Spray Mares Novice Hurdle.

The eight-year-old was the 6/4 favourite to follow up last month's Clonmel win and did so in style in the hands of Paul Townend. Magic Of Light took the field along for much of the two-mile-six-furlong contest before Townend decided to commit for home in the back straight.

The Green Lady went in pursuit after the home turn, but never looked like bridging the gap, with Kate Appleby Shoes finding enough to take the Grade Three prize by five lengths. Townend said: "We didn't think the step up in trip would be any problem and it suited her. She stays galloping - that's all she does."

The same partnership then teamed up to claim the Charleville Cheese EBF Mares Novice Chase with Daisy's Gift (11/2) which dug deep to deny 10/11 favourite Slowmotion, while Townend was also victorious on Michael Hourigan's Donegal Tuesday (11/4 favourite).

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