After another successful Sunday in his homeland Gordon Elliott outlines some of his Cheltenham Festival plans, and the Betfair Ambassador also talks about his entires for this year's Grand National...
"He has been running well all season and ran well again around the course when fourth in the Becher Chase earlier in the season."
- Gordon Elliott on Ucello Conti
Last Sunday was another big day for us and we were delighted to take one of the Grade 1 races on what is one of the biggest days on the Irish racing calendar.
Of course it was disappointing to just lose out in the Irish Gold Cup with both Empire Of Dirt and Don Poli but both of them ran crackers and we were happy with them. Sizing John was a good winner on the day and I'd say all three will have a chance at Cheltenham next month.
Don Poli will go for the Gold Cup but the Ryanair Chase is still an option for Empire Of Dirt, who we were delighted with in the race. He travelled up so well and then showed a lot of guts to get past Don Poli to finish second. Where he runs will probably depend on what Gigginstown want to do with their other options for the Ryanair and Gold Cup.
Mega Fortune was brilliant and we were delighted to have a Grade 1 winner for Chris Jones who is a big supporter of the yard. The cheekpieces made a big difference to the way he travelled and we were able to use his stamina to good effect. I think the Triumph Hurdle will suit him as that is usually a pacey race and he will love the hill.
We were happy with Dinaria Des Obeaux finishing third as well. She was having only her second ever run so it was a fair performance from her and she is another that should be suited by a fast pace at Cheltenham.
Brelade ran another good race in the Deloitte and he is another that can go to Cheltenham next month. He stays well so we could step him up in trip and go for the Neptune. That was only his third ever run over hurdles so hopefully there is more to come from him.
We got the weights for the Grand National this week and we're very much looking forward to the race. We have 14 entries but in truth, we won't end up running the majority of them. Gigginstown were disappointed with the weights allotted to their runners so Don Poli is not going to run in the race now. We were thinking more about Cheltenham for Outlander and Empire Of Dirt anyway.
Of all my runners I'd pick out Ucello Conti and Cause Of Causes as my best chances. I am not surprised punters have been backing Ucello Conti this week. He ran a cracker finishing sixth in the race last year and since then it has been the plan to go back and have another go. He has been running well all season and ran well again around the course when fourth in the Becher Chase earlier in the season.
Cause Of Causes is another with good experience of the course. He's been a star for us and he ran well in the race in 2015. We'd love to have another crack at it so all being well he'll go for the race after he runs at Cheltenham next month.