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Gordon Elliott aims for a third Randox Health Grand National

Article 10th December 2018

Leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott won the world’s greatest steeplechase for the second time as a trainer in 2018 – and is already plotting how to win the Randox Health Grand National for a third time in April.

Elliott only started out as a trainer 12 years ago, but won the Aintree showpiece at the first attempt – aged just 29 - in 2007 with Silver Birch and repeated the feat this year with Tiger Roll.

With dozens of leading Gigginstown horses in his yard, the 40-year-old is spoilt for choice with contenders and says he could end up with between 10 and 15 entries in the race.

Here, he opens the doors of his stables in Cullentra, County Meath in Ireland, and tells thejockeyclub.co.uk about some of his leading Grand National hopefuls for 2019….

TIGER ROLL

“He’s in good form. We are very lucky to have him and it was a great performance last year in the Randox Health Grand National. The main plan with him is to target the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He will run at Cheltenham at The International in the Cross Country Chase and I've been pleased with him since his latest run at the track.

“The Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival is going to be his Gold Cup really. We will then head to the Randox Health Grand National after that.

"I was pleased with his comeback run. He gave lots of weight to some very good horses, Keith Donoghue was happy with him and I probably minded him a bit more this year, as I thought I had him fitter than I actually did. It was a very good run and he took a couple of blows after the race.

"Having won three races at the Cheltenham Festival and winning a Grand National, I probably went a bit soft on him in terms of the amount of work we did, so we will make sure we give him lots of work.

"Tiger Roll is a special horse. He is not the biggest horse we have in the yard and he might not be that great to look at, but he wears his heart on his sleeve every day of the week.

"If I am going to be perfectly honest, it is going to be very tough for him to come back and win the race as he will probably have close to top-weight and that will be difficult for him.

"He will run and have an each-way chance, but I do think it's going to be tough with all the weight he will have.

"You always hope that these horses take to the fences, but you never really know if they will until they've jumped three or four of them.”

DON POLI

“He’s very well. I've been wanting to get a run into him for a while and I think he might just have needed the run at Aintree on Saturday.

"We were looking forward to seeing him run and how he’d take to the fences. Don Poli has been schooling very well.

"He sustained some heat in his leg in the Gold Cup two years ago and that has kept him off the track since. We are really happy with him, but he will probably come on for the run."

NOBLE ENDEAVOUR

"He’s a very talented horse. The handicap rating [154] he has might make life slightly difficult as he is caught in between slightly, but the Grand National is a target. He has had a couple of niggly problems, but we are pleased with him."

BORICE

"He’s come from France and is owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. He could be a dark horse for the race. He will need to go up in the weights but he is set to run in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and that looks a good place to start.

"Borice ran in some good races in France and hit the crossbar in a few of them - I think he could be a Grand National horse as he has experience and this change of scenery might suit him.”

UCELLO CONTI

“He is going hunter chasing and maybe point-to-pointing for the time being with a view to potentially coming back for the Grand National. He travelled well in the race last year and has been unlucky a couple of times in the Grand National when falling.”

GENERAL PRINCIPLE

"He is a very nice horse and he won the Irish Grand National last season. We're looking forward to running him this year and he could maybe develop into a Grand National horse."

 

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