It's another relatively busy Sunday for Betfair Ambassador Gordon Elliott who has no less than a dozen runners going for him in Ireland and Scotland, and here are his exclusive thoughts on each...
Best chance of the weekend: "I really like Folsom Blue's chances on Sunday and any rain will only be a positive."
Caltex is a horse that isn't straightforward to train so he is lightly raced, his last effort was back in November at Punchestown where he finished a respectable fourth after almost a year off the track. He is yet to run a bad race but I hope he can start to catch a bit of luck - if things can start to go his way he could definitely win a couple, top weight here today could be an issue on his hurdling debut but he's in great order at home.
Ger's Lad has been very disappointing in his two starts, he goes well enough at home and we want to give him a chance - he's a horse that will come on for some time and the step up to 2m4 is I think a step in the right direction. I can only hope we see drastic improvement from the late blooming six-year-old today.
Hardline has improved a lot this season and has been doing everything very well, the consistent gelding drops back in class for this Listed Novice Hurdle after his Grade 1 third at Leopardstown over Christmas. He has top weight today which I don't foresee being an issue - he's a tough and genuine sort who is in top form at home. We have won this race for the last two renewals so it would be great to do it again and am confident of a big run.
Swingbridge has found life tougher since rising in the ratings but after his three back to back wins in the summer he has continued to run very well, he is a grand horse who his owners will continue to have plenty of fun with and he is nicely consistent, he heads here with a very credible chance - the in form Benarty Hill looks the one to beat.
Ourmanmassini was a non runner in the Hunter Chase at Thurles last month, the 10L winner of that race was Gilgamboa who our lad had beaten by a head in a Point to Point at Mainstown in December. Ourmanmassini is now a nine time Point to Point winner, he was crowned Champion Pointer last season and is a dream horse for owner Donal Finnan. He goes here today with every chance and I'm expecting a big run from the ten-year-old. Anthony Fox claims a valuable 7lb.
Woods Well finished fifth on his last run behind Monbeg Notorious in the Thyestes which I thought was a good run from him on ground that was probably a little too testing. He ran well here in November and is a lovely big horse who will improve for some time. He may find things tough enough against a couple of our other runners today but he has every chance of finishing in the money.
Folsom Blue is a horse who absolutely loves the mud, he made a great start to life at Cullentra winning on his yard debut under Jack Kennedy at Clonmel. On his latest start in a Grade 3 at Sandown he ran well with the addition of cheekpieces but over further today I'd be expecting him to go close and he would be the pick of my four runners in this.
Space Cadet finished third behind Monbeg Notorious in the Thyestes, he made a mistake at the last but wouldn't have been a danger to the winner if he hadn't. Although this seasons appearances haven't been his best he is a work in progress and is a horse I really do like, we're yet to see the best of him and I'd love to see him have his day.
Out Sam is another who represented us in the Thyestes showed a great deal of improvement after a couple of lacklustre runs prior to that, he finished sixth just behind Woods Well and although he wouldn't be the pick of the bunch for me and he will probably find plenty of these too good for him based on his last run I'm expecting him to show a good account of himself.
Getaway John was a late enough bloomer who improved for a summers grass and returned this season a stronger horse, he just failed to hold on at Fairyhouse last month after almost a year off the track, finishing a head behind hot favourite Tornado Flyer and I was impressed with his performance. He came out of the race in great form and I hope now with a run to clear away the cobwebs he could go one better today.
Hurricane Volta makes the journey across the water for his yard debut, he has settled in well since joining us recently. His National Hunt form so far has been quite disappointing but a change of scenery often does these type of dual purpose horses the world of good. My main question mark would be the ground but there is only one way to find out if he will handle it and he's in great order at home.
Cubomania has been a great bit of fun for his owners since joining us from the sales in September with two back to back hurdle wins, he doesn't mind the softer ground and his last run, although a little disappointing after those two wins was actually not that bad looking back. He should find life a little easier here and Andrew Ring claims 3lb off top weight.
*Best chance of the weekend: I really like Folsom Blue's chances on Sunday and any rain will only be a positive.