Gordon Elliott sends 12 runners to Navan on Saturday, and the Betfair Ambassador is very hopeful that some of those dozen will play leading roles on the afternoon...
"Over the last few weeks he has been showing me that he is ready to start off and this looked an ideal place for him to start out for the season. I'm expecting a good run from him."
- Gordon Elliott on Three Stripe Life
This will be tougher but she's progressing nicely
She will take her chance in what looks a really smart rated novice hurdle. For the grade this looks a decent race so it will be interesting to see how she gets on here. She is a nice filly who came to us from France with a decent reputation and I was pleased with what she did on her hurdling debut at Punchestown last month when she was a clear cut winner of a juvenile maiden hurdle. This will be much tougher she is getting a nice bit of weight off her rivals and she progressed since Punchestown so I'd be hoping for a good showing here.
Both have good chances and can play leading roles
Folcano is a grand horse who has run two nice races for us. He started off here with a pleasing fourth in a decent maiden hurdle won by Ashdale Bob and he ran another decent race to chase home Flanking Maneuver at Fairyhouse earlier this month. He looks like a horse who will appreciate going three miles in time but two and a half miles at a track like this will suit him well. He has a good chance.
Gars De Sceaux is another promising type and I was happy with his first start over hurdles at Fairyhouse a couple of months ago when he was second to a smart mare of Willie's (Hook Up). He looked quite raw that day but what I liked about him was the way he stayed galloping from the second last. He looks sure to appreciate moving up to this distance and with the benefit of that first run behind him I'd hope to see him play a leading role.
Campeador just about the pick but all four have negatives of some sort
Column Of Fire has been off the track since falling at the last in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham when I thought he would have won had he stayed up. He took a little time to get over that fall and we've had to go steadily with him so he has been a little bit behind so far this season but he needs to start out if we are to get him to the likes of the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham. He'll improve a lot from this run and he will need it so he is best watched this time.
Floueur won the rated novice hurdle on this cad last year and I thought he was a very promising type at the time but he just didn't take well to fences on his first two runs this season and jumped poorly which is why he is switching back to hurdles. I still think there is plenty to come from him but I just want him to have a nice confidence boosting round here and I'm expecting him to improve on whatever he does today.
Campeador isn't the horse he once promised to be. However, he has run a couple of respectable races in smart two mile handicap hurdles on his last two starts and I think he could progress now that he steps up to this distance. He isn't the easiest to predict but I think he still has the ability to run well in a race like this.
Commentariolus has run a couple of reasonable races over hurdles at Cork this season and I think he can win off his mark but ideally he would like three miles nowadays. We don't have that many options for him at three miles for the next few weeks which is why he is coming here and this is a better race than those he has contested lately so he is going to have to up his game to get involved.
More to come and I won't be surprised if he runs well
I think he might need this run a little although he did win first time out on the flat for us last season. I know his form over hurdles so far isn't great but there is more to come from him as a jumper and this sort of test should be right up his street. I wouldn't be surprised if he ran well but I am expecting him to improve from this.
Defi has a good chance but Ferocious needs to up his game
Defi Bleu was a useful staying novice hurdler a couple of seasons ago and will probably come into his own over this sort of trip as a chaser. He ran well over two miles on his chasing debut here in November but just found everything happening too quickly at Leopardstown last time when he fell at the second last. At the time he was still in contention but to me he looked like he was flat out the whole way and this sort of test should suit him better. He should give a good account of himself.
Ferocious is a limited horse. He beat a very useful horse of Willie's in a maiden hurdle at Tramore over a year ago but that run aside he has really struggled and I think handicaps are going to offer him his best chance of success over fences. He hasn't shown much on his two runs this season and will have to up his game dramatically if he is to play a part here.
Solid chance even without improvement
He has put together several solid runs in defeat over the last couple of months and I think he can win one of these races when everything falls right for him. He wouldn't have to improve on either of his last two runs to play a leading role and he lines up with a solid each-way chance.
Ideal starting point and a good run expected
I like this horse. He has improved away the whole time since coming back in after the summer and he works like a horse who should be up to holding his own in bumpers. Over the last few weeks he has been showing me that he is ready to start off and this looked an ideal place for him to start out for the season. I'm expecting a good run from him.