Betfair Ambassador Gordon Elliott continues his busy weekend with a bumper Sunday afternoon at Leopardstown, with 18 horses in action, including one that could bring home the trophy in the 15:35...
"He is such a versatile horse and, now the winner of 10 races, he is a great one to have in the yard. Things look ideal for him here and despite the step back up in class I think he could easily run into some money."
Barra is a tough little mare who has been running well this season. She is rarely too far away and, stepping back up in trip today, I'm expecting a decent run. She has had some time to freshen up since last seen in November, so heads here in really good order - she would be the pick of my two runners in this due to her Graded experience and Liam McKenna claiming 7lb is a nice bonus.
Synopsis is a dual winner this season, once on the flat and most recently over hurdles but an 8lb rise and stepping up to 2m at Punchestown last time made life more difficult. She doesn't mind a bit of soft ground and has been working away well at home but there are a few in this I think she will find too good.
Farclas impressed me on his yard debut with a gutsy performance at Leopardstown in December. It was only his first start over hurdles. Gavin Cromwell's horse Espoir D'allen will take all the beating here, as he just keeps doing what he has to do and looks a very promising individual. But Farclas has improved a lot from the last day and he's one to look forward to. I definitely think he's the best chance of our two runners.
Mitchouka was impressive at Fairyhouse last month staying on strongly to finish ahead of stablemate Veneer Of Charm who had made a winning start to his hurdling career on his penultimate start. Mitchouka is a grand honest horse who has done everything well this season but, for me, he isn't a Grade 1 horse - that's not to say he is without a chance of finishing close by, but he would be hard pressed to finish ahead of his stablemate.
Samcro is in very good order and has been working nicely at home. Shane McCann, who rides him every day, is increasingly happy with him and we think he has improved again since his last outing at Navan in November where he was once again impressive finishing 12L ahead of Jetz. I've always thought a lot of him and he was classy that day. He's a horse who is certainly not short of pace but he was bought to be a 3m chaser, and he handled the step up in trip, but back to 2m today we know he's well able. The unbeaten six-year-old goes here with a serious chance of stepping into Grade 1 company and on the better ground I'm very much looking forward to him running.
Taglietelle seems back to his best this season after some below par runs last year. He kicked things off with a win in the 'Up The Yard Challenge' which looked to boost his confidence for his next outing at Clonmel. He is such a versatile horse and, now the winner of 10 races, he is a great one to have in the yard. Things look ideal for him here and despite the step back up in class I think he could easily run into some money.
Delta Work handled the step up to 3m last time out finishing second in a Grade 2 in testing conditions at Limerick behind the classy Fabulous Saga. We think he is a nice horse and he's due his day. Stepping down in Grade today, I think he will run a decent race and I would like to see him finish up there again.
Flawless Escape looks the pick of our three runners in this. He is a fine big galloping horse who will be some chaser for next year. I thought he ran a blinder last time out here. He is still quite green at times, so he can only improve with every run and, although I like his chances, he has Total Recall to beat who has been in rude health this season.
Dounikos has surprised us a couple of times this season. He took home his first Grade 2 last time out at Limerick ahead of stablemate Tombstone after Al Boum Photo came to grief at the last. It turns out he is a real mud lark and he stayed on very well on testing ground on both of his last runs. He is a big honest horse who goes here with an each way chance. I can't see him taking on Sutton Place but I don't expect him to be a million miles away and any rain at all between now and then will only add to his chances.
Sutton Place is the highest profile of our four runners in this with some fantastic form behind him. He won well at Fairyhouse last time out and that form has worked out since with Kemboy winning comfortably on his next outing. He was pleasing that day, despite Mark saying he was a little bit novicey in his jumping. He never does anything too flashy, he just gets out there and does what he has to do and I like that about him. He has a solid chance today and I'm looking forward to the run.
The Storyteller ran well enough on his last outing finishing third to Invitation Only at Punchestown. He jumps and gallops well and is very consistent but this is a big step up for him. Looking at the positives the trip is ideal and he is in great form. It's also good to head into this with a few runs behind him. I expect him to run well but there are some in this I think he will just find too good.
Tombstone returns to Grade 1 company. He ran very well at Navan on his penultimate start but, last time out, the ground was just too much for him. He's a real hurdler and likes to get on with his jumping, so tends to make mistakes and that could make all the difference today - he really needs to tidy himself up as they won't be messing around here. Much like The Storyteller, he's up against it with a few but again I don't expect him to disgrace himself.
Mala Beach had been threatening to win a big race for a while and he relished conditions last time out to bring home the Troytown, I was delighted for him - he's a horse I've always liked and I was also over the moon for his owner Chris Jones who is a big supporter of the yard. He loves a bit of soft ground and has some decent runs here to his name so although this is asking plenty from the ten-year-old he has every chance of bringing home some prizemoney and I would be quietly confident of a very good run.
Outlander is in great order and loves Leopardstown. I thought he ran well here the last day but on his penultimate start in Haydock he just got lost in the ground and didn't run his race at all. A dual Grade 1 winner for us now and, if he could win another, I would be over the moon. Our Duke is a big danger today but was very much out of sorts when finishing well behind our lad at Down Royal and Killultagh Vic is another with a serious chance. Outlander benefits from being taken out of his routine, so he goes hunting with Emily MacMahon, who works for me, and he's also done some show jumping with her lately. It all adds up and I hope it will all come together to have him in the right frame of mind. If he is on form today, he has a serious chance of bringing home the trophy.
Cause Of Causes makes his seasonal debut here today. He was, of course, second in the Grand National last year. I say it all the time, but he is an absolute superstar and we love him to bits. The Cheltenham specialist is dropping right back in trip for this 2m5 contest and, while it's not his optimum trip, it's a nice start for him - a lot of ours come on for their first runs of the season and I don't think he'll be any different so, while I can't see him being a main danger, we can look forward to a good run.
General Principle is a nice sort but we had anticipated better on his last couple of starts - the Troytown looked ideal but he was well beaten by stablemate Mala Beach. He was a comfortable winner of his Grade 3 and I think he is much better than his recent form. He didn't run well here last time out but I hope he can redeem himself today and show some improvement.
Sutton Manor held on narrowly to win his last start at Down Royal on very heavy ground. He's pretty consistent and I think this race will really suit him. He could be a bit of a dark horse and just sneak into it. Jack Kennedy is booked to ride and he gets a great tune out of him.
Tintangle is a half-sister to Tombstone, who runs earlier in the day, and a nice young mare who works very well. Despite being a big ask for her debut, based on her homework, I would like to think she won't let herself down and can finish in the money. However, she is the only unraced runner of the field and faces plenty of winners, so we'll know much more after this and whatever she does today will be a bonus.
Best chance of Sunday: Farclas has come on leaps and bounds for his last outing and I would be hopeful he could reverse his form with Espoir D'allen.