Gordon Elliott: Views on my Saturday runners at Gowran Park
It's a busy weekend for Gordon Elliott with plenty of horses in action across the two days. Here he discusses the form of his runners at Gowran Park on Saturday and picks his best chance...
"He stepped forward significantly at Naas last time when he finished a close third in what looked a good beginners chase. The form of that last entitles him to go close here and he has a decent chance of getting off the mark over fences.
Will slower ground suit Max?
11:35 - Flat To The Max
Flat To The Max is a horse that came to us after winning a flat maiden for Ger Lyons in the early part of the 2018 season and things haven't worked out for him so far. He only got as far as the first on his hurdling debut and last time I was expecting a good showing from him at Fairyhouse but he was disappointing. He works like a nice juvenile, so I'm not giving up on him and I'm hoping that a switch to slower ground will work in his favour. Blinkers might also help his cause.
Ocean Voyage will benefit from this experience
12:05 - Ocean Voyage
Ocean Voyage had a couple of runs for us on the flat and she ran respectably in quite a reasonable flat handicap at Listowel a couple of months ago. She shapes like a filly who wants a trip and soft ground so it was always in my head that she might make a reasonable hurdler. She's in good form and has schooled well but she will be all the better for this experience and probably wants slower ground than she will get here.
Invincible Cave makes welcome return
12:35 - Invincible Cave
I've always liked this horse and he won a Navan bumper for us first time out last season. I was a bit disappointed with his only other run in a Naas winner's bumper last February and, while the winner of that race turned out to be a top bumper horse, I do think that he is better than he got to show that day. He's one who should make up into a nice novice hurdler this season and he jumps and stays well so he should have a good future. As this is his first run for quite a while I'm expecting him to improve for this run and a longer trip might suit him better in due course. He should still run a nice race though.
Kuraka bids to build on promising homework
13:10 - Kuraka
Kuraka showed a useful level of form over hurdles last spring and also won on the flat at Leopardstown in the summer. He didn't enjoy the very quick ground when he last ran over hurdles in June and he needed plenty of time to get over that so we had to go gently with him for a while. He's been doing fine in his home work over the last few weeks but I'd like to have seen a bit more from him to be honest and he's probably best watched for the moment.
There's more to come from Satoshi
13:10 - Satoshi
I was delighted with Satoshi at Punchestown last Sunday. He was fortunate to get the race in the stewards room but he ran a very nice race in any case and he should improve a good bit from his first run since April. He is dropping sharply in trip but I think he will be able to cope with coming back to two miles and hopefully he will give a good account of himself. This is only the third run of his career so there is definitely more to come from him.
Pat's Oscar has plenty of weight to carry
13:45 - Pat's Oscar
She is going to start out for the season in a mares handicap hurdle and I'm expecting her to improve for her first run since April. She was a consistent sort last season and should hold her own in these types of races throughout the winter. However, she might just be in the grip of the handicapper at the moment and has plenty of weight to carry on her first run back. I'd be hoping for a solid showing but she's going to much better for this comeback run.
Trip will suit Tycoon Prince
14:20 - Tycoon Prince
He ran a lovely race on his comeback at Naas a few weeks ago when finishing second to Saint Calvados. That was his best run over fences and I'm hoping that he can build on it and start to realise the potential he showed as a bumper horse. At home he looks to have come forward from Naas so I'm hoping he is lining up with a decent chance. Much of his best form is at two miles but I think this trip will be fine for him.
Why Burren Life is my best chance of the day
14:55 - Burren Life
He has started out over fences with two nice runs. He ran a solid race on his comeback to finish second at Tipperary but I thought he stepped forward significantly at Naas last time when he finished a close third in what looked a good beginners chase. The form of that last entitles him to go close here and he has a decent chance of getting off the mark over fences.
Will Gun Digger fire on Saturday?
14:55 - Gun Digger
Gun Digger was a reasonable sort over hurdles and should be at least as good over fences. This looks a good trip for him and he has schooled well over fences so he should run a solid race. However, he will need this run and softer ground would definitely suit him better.
And one runner at Haydock...
14:25 - Folsom Blue
He will begin his season in a valuable three mile handicap hurdle and I'm very happy with him. Since he came back in from grass we have been targeting this race as he showed up well in several good staying handicap hurdles last season and off his current mark I do think that there is a good pot in him over hurdles.
Even though he is going to turn 12 in a couple of months he looks as good as ever and retains all his enthusiasm so I'm hoping that he will give his owners plenty of fun again this season. I'd probably prefer if he came here with the advantage of a previous run and softer ground would suit him better but I'm expecting him to represent us well.
Best Chance of Saturday: Burren Life (14:55)