Gordon Elliott: Folsom Blue has his old ability intact for the Midlands National
No rest after Cheltenham for Betfair Ambassador Gordon Elliott as he has 12 runners this Saturday around the UK and Ireland...
"He must have a great chance if he is in the sort of form that saw him finish fourth in last season's Irish National."
Early rhythm will be key for Folsom
15:35 Folsom Blue
Folsom Blue heads to Uttoxeter today for the Midlands National and this is a test that should suit him well. He is a really strong stayer and he goes well on testing ground so the extended four mile trip on the ground should work in his favour. I was pleased with his run over hurdles at Sandown last month where he dropped out before the straight and then finished very strongly to take fourth.
That run suggested to me that all his old ability is intact and he must have a great chance if he is in the sort of form that saw him finish fourth in last season's Irish National. He isn't the biggest horse so I would prefer if he had slightly less weight but the most important thing is that he gets into a nice early rhythm.
Both these two need returns to better form
He's a grand horse who ran a solid race on his debut but I was left scratching my head after his last run in a Punchestown bumper a few weeks ago as he ran very moderately. That run was just too bad to be true and we've taken the decision to send him jumping as that should bring out the best in him. He seems to be in good order and he jumps well so hopefully we will see him return to the form he showed on his first run.
15:05 Rio De Cerisy
He pulled up on his handicap hurdle debut at Fairyhouse last month but that run is best ignored as he made a mistake and Jack (Kennedy) thought he might have gone wrong so he pulled him up. Happily it transpired that he had just given himself a knock so will hopefully do better this time. However, he has plenty of weight to carry and he has got to improve on what he has shown over hurdles so far.
Western will be involved
15:40 Western Honour
It's been a decent season so far for this horse and he came back to form to win at Ayr last time. He is going to go chasing shortly but I feel there might be another race to be won with him over hurdles off his current rating which is why he is lining up here. If he runs his usual solid race I think he will be involved at the finish.
16:15 Mill Quest
She's a useful mare who had a great summer for us over hurdles and over fences. Since she last ran she's had a nice break and she's just ready to start off here so I would be expecting her to improve from this run. The ground should be fine for her and so should the trip and even though she might need this run and has plenty of weight she should be able to give a good account of herself.
Mala Beach should relish this trip
16:50 Jury Duty
He is just ready to start back having had a break since winning the American Grand National in the autumn. Last season he was a quality novice chaser and he has shown up well in quality handicaps and graded races so I would like to think he will go well even though he will improve for the run. The only concern I would have is the trip as I'm still not entirely convinced that he wants to go further than three miles. His run here should tell us what direction we need to take with him.
16:50 Don Poli
As we all know he was once a very good horse who was able to hold his own in top company over three miles. Since he has come back from injury he has struggled badly to make an impression but this is his easiest assignment of the season and the small field and the extended three miles trip will suit him well. I'm just hoping to see some sort of a return to form from him but you couldn't be too confident about him.
16:50 Mala Beach
He won this race last year but has only run once this season as the dry winter has not been in his favour. Ideally he wants soft or heavy ground to be at his best and he just hasn't had his conditions. The ground here should be fine for him and he is a strong stayer who relishes this sort of test as he showed last year. I'd still hope that he will hold his own in good company and with that in mind he should be able to show up well here.
18:00 Lady Of Elysium
This mare has run two solid races so far and she's shown me enough to suggest that she will be able to win a mares bumper this season. On her debut she ran a nice race to finish fourth in a Navan bumper and I thought that she ran just as well when she was second at Thurles last time. She's been going well since that Thurles run and I'd expect her to give a good account of herself.
Enjoys being tested
14:20 Flat To The Max
Overall his hurdling career has been disappointing. He did win at Gowran in November and wasn't disgraced in a Grade 2 on his next run but his last effort was very poor and he didn't look to be enjoying himself last time. He does enjoy testing conditions so the ground should suit him well and if he could get back to his form from earlier this season he would have a great chance but he probably isn't one to be relying on.
16:40 - Special Brute
He's a grand sort who handles an ease in the ground so he should be quite at home on this going and I'm hoping to see him improve from his respectable debut at Naas last month when he finished fourth to a useful looking horse of Liz Doyle's. At home he looks to have progressed from that first run and that would look to give him an each way chance here.
Expect a good showing
17:15 - Run Wild Fred
This race is a drop in class for him as last time out he contested the best bumper run in Ireland this season when he was sixth behind Envoi Allen at Leopardstown. He was beaten 17 lengths there but ran respectably and prior to that he won a bumper at Fairyhouse. I'd say the ground at Leopardstown was as quick as he wants so he should be more comfortable on this going and I'm expecting a good showing from him.
Best Chances - Mala Beach (16:50 - Down Royal), Run Wild Fred (17:15 - Limerick)