Tag Archive for: Down Royal

O’Toole has Crawford purring at Down Royal

Stuart Crawford could not hide the regard in which he holds O’Toole following an easy winning debut over obstacles in the Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle at Down Royal.

Bought by the powerful owning partnership of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede after winning a Fairyhouse bumper in Crawford’s colours, he went on to be second to Kilcruit at the Punchestown Festival.

JJ Slevin was never far from the front on the 4-9 favourite and urged his mount to quicken with two furlongs to run.

And without Slevin having to get too serious, O’Toole went on to win by seven and a half lengths.

Crawford said: “He has probably grown, he’s a wee bit bigger and stronger. Sure, we had to start somewhere and that was an ideal race to start on our doorstep.

“He’s just a big, laid back, easy-going horse. We will just try to place him sensibly over hurdles this year.

“I really can’t wait to jump fences with him, but we’ll not get too far ahead of ourselves.

“He will come on plenty for that and the further he goes the better he will be. He has a great temperament, in so far as he is laid back, so you can probably put him where you want to in a race.

“He had plenty of schooling done to go point-to-pointing and he is not a natural hurdler as he is probably a big clean jumper.

“I would be hoping I’d be here talking to you after the (Grade One) James Nicholson one day.

“We will all meet up and talk about where he might end up in the spring. We know he will handle better ground, but he needs a bit of experience as well.

“I’d imagine we will not be over-racing him this season. He will want a step up in trip in a higher grade. In the lower grade of race, probably the trip is not as important. When we start taking on the better horses we probably will step up in trip.

“He’s in a handful of the most exciting horses certainly in Ireland this winter. He’s a proper Gold Cup type of horse, I hope. He’s a big staying chaser. He’s not a slow horse and he will furnish more for another summer. He is improving all the time.

“We don’t want to get to the bottom of him this season. He’s still a big baby really. He’s a horse at home you could put anyone on him to ride. He’s a pleasure to train.

“Daryl Jacob got injured a week ago and he has missed out on a few of these horses to ride which is a shame for him. He has put a bit of work into them, he has been over.”

Frodon and Frost sparkle again with Champion Chase triumph

Frodon and Bryony Frost held off Galvin in a thrilling finish to the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal.

The first Grade One chase of the new National Hunt season was good enough to grace any of the spring festivals, with all five runners having tasted success at the Cheltenham Festival in the past.

Joining King George winner Frodon was last year’s Gold Cup scorer Minella Indo, as well as dual Grade One winner Delta Work and Galvin, winner of his last six.

Frodon adopted his usual front-running role and put in some prodigious leaps, but Rachael Blackmore was keen not to let Paul Nicholls’ charge get too far ahead on Minella Indo.

The Gordon Elliott trio of Delta Work, Galvin and Ravenhill filled the last three places in the first half of the race, with Ravenhill struggling to keep up.

With five fences still to jump, Frodon’s accurate fencing was putting Minella Indo under pressure but Blackmore nudged her mount to get closer, while Galvin and Delta Work were creeping into it.

As they turned down the hill Frost kicked on, but they were lining up behind her and all three looked huge threats.

Delta Work was the first to crack, but Frodon still had to see off Minella Indo and Galvin.

Minella Indo’s lack of a run then began to tell but Galvin joined Frodon jumping the last two and the pair produced a real thriller.

It was Frodon who prevailed, though, by three-quarters of a length.

Betfair cut Frodon to 5-1 from 12s to retain his King George crown.

Frost, riding in her first race as a professional in Ireland, said: “What more can you say about him? That was tough. The uncertainty of where we were going out there and he was having a good look around.

“I always preach about his determination and that it is infectious and that you can beat anyone when you are on him, but you really can because he believes he can.

“The feeling that when you think you are beaten the world swallows you up. Have you gone too hard on him? Have I got any legs left? You give everything to him and you see if there is anything left as we need it now. He answers you because he wants to.

“What is that, 18 races he has won in his lifetime? It’s just phenomenal. Testimony to Paul (Nicholls) to have a horse coming out every season, again and again, with the same enthusiasm. It is exactly what he is a master of.

“How cool is it to be a jockey that has added to that record (in this race)?

“It’s a great track – a big, galloping track. The ground is a bit tacky. The fences are alone and the inside is a lonely place with not many rails, so you need an honest horse. He goes slightly left as well and there was a couple I got in tight. I think that was just him trying to work it out.

Bryony Frost is all smiles after claiming another Grade One
Bryony Frost is all smiles after claiming another Grade One (Brian Lawless/PA)

“It took me halfway around to realise ‘ah yes Bryony, sit still and let him do it’.”

On the pace of the race, she said: “Over with us, that’s kind of how are races are ridden. We don’t hang about in a lot of our big races.

“I spoke to dad (Grand National winner Jimmy Frost) this morning and I have watched a lot of Irish racing and we could keep it fairly steady and quicken massively.

“I felt my asset is my jumping (though) and I knew I was 110 per cent fit. I had done a good piece of work on him and Holly, who rides him every day, says he is a million dollars, so I had to believe in him.

“Doesn’t he just improve every time?”

Bryony Frost soaks up the adulation on Frodon
Bryony Frost soaks up the adulation on Frodon (Brian Lawless/PA)

Speaking from Wetherby, Nicholls said: “That was fantastic watching that. What a gutsy horse. They jumped the last together and he stayed on to beat the Gold Cup winner and Galvin, it’s probably one of his best runs.

“It just shows that three miles on a track like that suits him so well, I’m so proud of him. It was a great ride from Bryony. We had a plan.

“He has to be at his best first time out to produce a run like that, so it’s a credit to the team at home. It was a great performance and it just shows what a good horse he is.

“He’ll go straight to Kempton and (stablemate) Clan’s (Des Obeaux) going to go there, so it’ll be an interesting clash.”

Henry de Bromhead expects Minella Indo to come on a good deal for his first outing of the season after finishing just over five lengths back in third.

“We all love to win but fair play to Frodon, he was brilliant on the day,” said De Bromhead.

“We were very happy with the run, he’ll come on plenty. We’ll see where we go next. He took a couple of blows so he will come on plenty.”

Elliott was pleased with his runners, with Jamie Codd replacing the injured Davy Russell.

“I thought Delta Work ran very well. Everybody knows he is a bit rusty first time out. We might take the hood off him next day but very happy with the way he ran,” said Elliott.

“Galvin, what a little horse. He ran his heart out but all credit to the winner, he was very good.

“I don’t think Jamie (Codd) did anything wrong on Galvin. He gave him a wonderful ride.

“I’m not sure if Davy (Russell) will ride tomorrow in Cork, but I’d say he won’t be long out.”

All eyes on Envoi Allen in Down Royal comeback

Envoi Allen bids to get his career back on track as he returns to action at Down Royal on Saturday.

The seven-year-old was unbeaten in 11 starts under rules, including Grade Ones in bumper company and over both hurdles and fences, before his winning streak ended at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Sent off a hot favourite for the Marsh Novices’ Chase on his first start for Henry De Bromhead having transferred from Gordon Elliott’s care, Envoi Allen crashed out at the fourth fence and was then pulled up when he went on a retrieval mission at Punchestown.

Jack Kennedy cuts a disconsolate figure on his way to meet Henry de Bromhead after the Cheltenham fall
Jack Kennedy cuts a disconsolate figure on his way to meet Henry de Bromhead after the Cheltenham fall (David Davies/PA)

It later became apparent Envoi Allen had picked up an injury but having had successful surgery, De Bromhead is looking forward to seeing him back in the Join Racing TV Chase.

“Envoi Allen had a chip removed in the spring and he seems in good form and is moving really well. All is good,” said De Bromhead.

“The races are so competitive no matter where you go and this race is for second-season novices and he won his beginners’ chase there.”

Rachael Blackmore rode at Punchestown and will again be in the plate as both Jack Kennedy and Davy Russell, who had previously teamed up with Envoi Allen over obstacles, are required to ride for Elliott, who sends Coko Beach and Vado Forte.

Blackmore told BetVictor: “I pulled him up last time out at Punchestown. It was found that he had chipped his hind joint afterwards which required an operation, all went well and he had a nice summer break.

“He has been in a while and seems in great form at home. He has won twice at this meeting in impressive style on both occasions, fingers crossed we can replicate that start to the season and see him back to his very best once again.”

On taking on his former stable star, Elliott said: “Envoi Allen is different class, so we will only be riding for second.”

Zanahiyr back in business with WKD Hurdle victory at Down Royal

Zanahiyr got back to winning ways with a dominant display in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal.

Beaten favourite in the Triumph Hurdle in March, the Gordon Elliott-trained four-year-old was giving weight away to older horses on this occasion.

Jack Kennedy set out to make it a fair test and while his only serious rival Cask Mate appeared to be travelling better approaching the second-last, when Noel Meade’s runner made a mistake there the race was over.

Zanahiyr (8-13 favourite) came away to win by eight lengths and earned a 16-1 quote for the Champion Hurdle with Paddy Power.

“Jack said he was trying to wind it up the whole way, he actually wasn’t doing a stroke and had his ears pricked,” said Elliott.

“From the second-last to the line he galloped the whole way. We are very happy.

“He’s entered in the Hatton’s Grace (at Fairyhouse), but we’ll have to have a look and see what we think.

“I could see him stepping up in trip at some stage in the season.”

Hollow Games in action at Down Royal
Hollow Games in action at Down Royal (Brian Lawless/PA)

Elliott was earlier on the mark with the promising Hollow Games (1-9 favourite), who made no mistake in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Hurdle under Davy Russell.

“He’s a nice, horse, he’s a big galloper. He only does what he has to do. He’s an Albert Bartlett type,” said Elliott.

Colm Murphy could be heading back into the big time with the unbeaten Impervious (7-2), as she stretched her unbeaten record to three in the Grade Three Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle.

With Elliott’s hot favourite Party Central folding tamely in the straight, Impervious was handy most of the way and came clear for a five-length win under Brian Hayes.

Impervious clears the last in front and went on to win well
Impervious clears the last in front and went on to win well (Brian Lawless/PA)

“She jumps, she travels and I’m delighted with the way she went by the line,” said Murphy, who rejoined the training ranks in 2019 following a two-year hiatus.

“It is just phenomenal how she has improved from the last day. Hopefully she will keep improving. When you have a filly like that and they keep improving, you don’t know where you could stop. We’ll keep dreaming away.

“I’d imagine that (Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham) would be the long-term aim. Whether we get to there I’m not sure, but I’d imagine maybe Christmas and a run after it and we’ll see.

“She is relatively inexperienced for what she is doing. She is one to look forward to.”

When asked to compare her with the mares he has had in the past, he said: “It is hard to compare them, but on the evidence of that she is right up there with them.

“She has stamina and she has plenty of pace. She has the right ingredients to keep climbing the ladder.”

Lifetime Ambition jumps the last on way to victory
Lifetime Ambition jumps the last on way to victory (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sean O’Keeffe got some great leaps out of Jessica Harrington’s Lifetime Ambition on his way to winning what should prove an informative Tote Ten To Follow Beginners Chase.

The market was dominated by classy hurdlers Beacon Edge, Vanillier and Grand Paradis, although Lifetime Ambition was not unbacked at 7-1.

Taking lengths out of his rivals at every fence, he could not be caught, coming home two and three-quarter lengths clear of Beacon Edge with Vanillier not disgraced in third over a trip short of his best.

Assistant trainer Kate Harrington said: “He got his act together at the end of last year and he is a horse that is only filling his frame.

“From when we jumped him over fences in the autumn, he was just different league.

“Sean said he has never ridden a horse to have so much scope as he does. He could be exciting. We have a few jumpers and a few quality ones, but he is exciting.

“The entries for the Drinmore are on Wednesday so he will probably get an entry. I wouldn’t be afraid of stepping him up in class. He’s very good.”

Saturday TV Trends Sat TV Trends: 30th Oct 2021

Another cracking Saturday of LIVE ITV Racing and it’s jumping all the way!

At Wetherby, the Grade Two bet365 Charlie Hall Chase is their main event, while at Ascot the competitive Bateaux London Gold Cup Handicap is always a competitive affair to unravel.

Did you know? Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the Charlie Hall Chase six times

While, over in Ireland we've also got the Ladbrokes Champion Steeplechase from Down Royal - a prize the Noel Meade and Gordon Elliott yards have won 7 times between them in the last 8 runnings.

To help, we are on hand with all the key race trends for this Saturday’s LIVE ITV races - use these stats to whittle down the runners and find the best profiles of past winners.

Ascot Horse Racing Trends (ITV/Sky)

1.35 - Ascot Underwriting Chase (A Novices´ Limited Handicap) Cl3 2m3f ITV4

8 previous runnings
8/8 – Aged 7 or younger
7/8 – Irish bred
7/8 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
6/8 – Yet to win over fences
5/8 – Aged 6 year-old
3/8 – Had run at Ascot before
2/8 – Winning favourites

2.10 – Bateaux London Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 2m ITV4

17/17 – Aged between 4 and 6 years-old
17/17 – Had won over at 2m or 2m1f over hurdles before
14/17 – Never raced at Ascot before
14/17 – Won between 1-3 times over hurdles
10/17 – Having their first run of the season
9/17 – Unplaced last time out
9/17 – Placed favourites
8/17 – Winning favourites (1 co, 2 joint)
6/17 – Ran at Huntingdon (3) or Aintree (3) last time out
7/17 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or more
6/17 – Won by a French bred horse
4/17 – Ridden by a conditional jockey
3/17 – Won by trainer Alan King, including two of last 4 renewals
2/17 – Won by the Pipe stable
2/17 – Won by trainer Paul Nicholls
2/17 - Won by trainer Nicky Henderson
7 of the last 12 winners were aged 5 years-old

 

2.45 – Byrne Group Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 2m1f ITV4

15/18 – Aged 8 years-old or younger
13/18 – Returned 13/2 or shorter in the betting
12/18 – Irish (5) or French (7) bred
12/18 – Had won between 1-3 times over fences before
10/18 – Having their first run of the new season
10/18 – Carried 11-1 or less in weight
8/18 – Rated 130 or lower
8/18 – Unplaced favourites
6/18 – Won last time out
5/18 – Aged 8 years-old
4/18 – Ran at either Ascot (2) or Aintree (2) last time out
4/18 – Won carrying 11-12
4/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/18 – Winning favourites
3/18 – Trained by Venetia Williams
Amoola Gold (9/2) won the race in 2020
Diego Du Charmil (13/2) won the race in 2019


3.20 – Bateaux London Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 3m ITV4

16/16 – Had won a chase race over at least 2m4f before
13/16 – Didn’t win last time out
12/16 – Had run at Ascot before (6 won)
11/16 – Carried 10-10 or more
10/16 – Had won at least 3 times over fences before
10/16 – Aged 8 or older
10/16 – Having their first run of the season
9/16 – Unplaced favourites
9/16 – Had won a chase race over at least 3m before
9/16 – Unplaced in their last race
9/16 – Winning distance – 4 lengths or more
6/16 – Officially rated 135 to 138 inc
6/16 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
4/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Won by the Pipe stable
2/16 – Trained by Gary Moore
2/16 – Ran at Sandown last time out
2/16 – Ridden by Aidan Coleman
Vinndication (2/1 fav) won the race in 2019
Regal Encore won the race in 2020
9 of the last 11 winners were aged 9 or younger
Go Conquer won the race in 2017 and was third in 2018

 

Wetherby Horse Racing Trends (ITV/RacingTV)

1.20 - bet365 Handicap Chase Cl3 (4yo+ 0-125) 2m3 1/2f ITV4

Just 3 previous runnings
2/3 – Winning favourites
2/3 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
Trainer Tom George won the race in 2020
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies won the race in 2019
Trainer Charlie Longsdon won the 2018 running

 

1.55 – bet365 Mares´ Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 2m110y ITV4

13/14 – Had won over at least 2m1f over hurdles before
12/14 – Had between 2-5 previous hurdles wins to their name
11/14 – Having their first run of the season
10/14 – Never raced at Wetherby before
9/14 – Placed favourites
9/14 – Had won a NH Flat race previously
8/14 – Finished unplaced last time out
7/14 – Aged between 5-7 years-old
5/14 – Winning favourites
4/14 – Ran at Punchestown last time out
2/14 – Trained by John Quinn
Mrs Hyde (6/1) won the race in 2020

2.30 – bet365 Hurdle (West Yorkshire Hurdle) (Grade 2) Cl1 3m26y ITV4

19/19 – Had won over at least 2m3f over hurdles before
18/19 – Had won at least 3 times over hurdles before
17/19 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
16/19 – Won this on their seasonal reappearance
16/19 – Failed to win their last race
14/19 – Officially rated 149 or higher
13/19 – Placed favourites
13/19 – Aged 6,7 or 8 years-old
11/19 – Finished unplaced last time out
10/19 – Ran at either Aintree (5) or Cheltenham (5) last time out
7/19 – Had won at Wetherby before
5/19 – Winning favourites
3/19 – Trained by Philip Hobbs
3/19 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
2/19 – Ridden by Paddy Brennan
Roksana (13/8) won this race in 2020
The Worlds End (7/2) won this race in 2019

 

3.05 – bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 3m1f ITV

17/19 – Rated 151 or higher
16/19 – Were having their first run of the season
16/19 – Returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
15/19 – Had won over at least 3m over fences before
14/19 – Aged 8 or older
13/19 – Had won at least 4 times over fences before
12/19 – Aged 8 or 9 years-old
11/19 – Ran at Ayr (3), Aintree (6) or Cheltenham (2) last time out
11/19 – Placed favourites
8/19 – Had run at Wetherby before (4 won)
7/19  - Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
4/19 – Winning favourites
4/19 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies (6 wins in total)
2/19 - Trained by Paul Nicholls (4 wins in total)
2/19 – Trained by Evan Williams
Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the race in 1992, 1994, 2005, 2007, 2017 and 2019
The average winning SP in the last 19 runnings is 13/2

Down Royal Horse Racing Trends

2.50 – Ladbrokes Champion Chase (Grade 1) 3m ITV4

14/16 – Had won at least a Grade 2 Chase before
13/16 – Had won at least 5 times over fences before
12/16 – Aged 8 or older
12/16 – Had won over at least 3m over fences before
12/16 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
11/16 – Winning distance 2 ½ lengths or more
11/16 – Returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting
9/16 – Had won a Grade 1 Chase before
7/16 – Having their first run of the season (including 6 of last 9 winners)
7/16 – Winning favourites
7/16 – Had run at Down Royal before
5/16 – Won their last race
4/16 – Trained by Gordon Elliott (4 of the last 8)
4/16 – Raced at Aintree last time out
4/16 – Raced at Limerick last time out
4/16 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/16 - Trained by Noel Meade (3 of the last 7)
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 9/2

 

 

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Vanillier ready for chasing debut at Down Royal

Cheltenham Festival winner Vanillier starts his new career over fences in the Tote Ten To Follow Beginners Chase at Down Royal.

Trained by Gavin Cromwell, the grey bounded clear up the Cheltenham hill to win the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in March.

The two previous winners of that Festival contest, Minella Indo and Monkfish, have gone on to be seen as two of the best chasers in training – albeit the latter is currently sidelined – and Cromwell will be hoping Vanillier can reach similar heights.

He faces far from an easy task on his chasing debut on Friday, however, up against Noel Meade’s Beacon Edge – last season’s Boyne Hurdle hero – and Gordon Elliott’s Grand Paradis, winner of the Michael Purcell Memorial at Thurles.

“It looks a hot race – but it’s to be expected in Ireland at this time of year, especially at this meeting,” said Cromwell.

“We’re looking forward to getting him started off. He jumps well (at home) – and while we’ll step him up in trip as the season goes on, this looks a nice place to get him started.

“It was good to soft when he won at Cheltenham, and it will be something similar again. He doesn’t need it bottomless, (so) the ground should be ideal.

“That day he came up the hill at Cheltenham he looked to be crying out for a fence, so we’re hoping it all goes well.”

Elsewhere on the card, Triumph Hurdle fourth Zanahiyr meets Cask Mate in what looks a match in the Grade Two WKD Hurdle

‘That’s racing’ – Jack Kennedy takes big-race switch in his stride

Jack Kennedy declared “that’s racing” as he had to sacrifice the ride on Gold Cup winner Minella Indo – on his seasonal comeback at Down Royal – after his boss Gordon Elliott informed him he must instead partner Delta Work.

Kennedy was chosen by Henry de Bromhead to ride Minella Indo at the Cheltenham Festival when his stable jockey Rachael Blackmore preferred the claims of A Plus Tard – the eventual Gold Cup runner-up.

It was announced earlier this week Kennedy would maintain the winning partnership in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Champion Chase. But at declaration time on Thursday morning, his name also appeared alongside Delta Work – and following clarification, it has emerged Blackmore will ride Minella Indo.

Kennedy said: “Minella Indo gave me the biggest day of my career so far. But that’s racing – and I wish Barry Maloney, Henry, Rachael and the horse all the best.

“You never know what might happen in the future – I might get back on him at some point.

“Minella Indo felt in good form and jumped very well when I schooled him during the week, so he is in good old nick.

“I’m looking forward to getting back on Delta Work, and hopefully he’ll be bang there.

“He did himself an injury the last day he ran, and it knocked him out for the rest of the season. Touch wood he is fit and healthy and in good form, and I’m looking forward to riding him.

“He has been very good to me, and hopefully we will have a few more good days together.”

The first Grade One chase of the new National Hunt season has attracted a stellar five-strong field – and while in the past the presence of the current Gold Cup holder might have frightened off any serious opposition, this year’s race promises to be riveting.

Paul Nicholls’ Frodon continued to surprise last year – and having won the Ryanair in 2019, he took his form to a new level last Christmas, making every yard of the running in Kempton’s showpiece.

Frodon jumps the last clear in the King George
Frodon jumps the last clear in the King George (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Having failed to see out the Gold Cup trip, he then bounced back on the final day of the season at Sandown to take the Oaksey Chase.

He is the winner of 17 races in his career, and Bryony Frost will be seeking her 10th success on his back.

Galvin is the unknown quantity for Elliott. He has won his last six, including the National Hunt Chase last March when with Ian Ferguson while Elliott served his suspension.

This represents a big step up in class, and will be his first run in a Grade One over fences. As well as Delta Work, Elliott also runs Ravenhill.

Galvin was a Cheltenham Festival winner in March
Galvin was a Cheltenham Festival winner in March (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Envoi Allen also returns to action, on something of a retrieval mission in the Join Racing TV Chase.

A faller on his first run for De Bromhead at Cheltenham after being switched from Elliott by owners Cheveley Park Stud, he then went wrong at Punchestown and was pulled up.

That was Blackmore’s first time riding him, and with Davy Russell required to ride for Elliott, she is back on board this weekend.

Elliott’s Coko Beach and Vado Forte take him on, along with Fairyhill Run in a field of six.

Minella Indo heads classy quintet in Down Royal’s Champion Chase

Gold Cup hero Minella Indo will face King George winner Frodon and the improving Galvin in a fascinating Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal.

The first Grade One chase of the new National Hunt season has attracted a stellar five-strong field on Saturday – and while in the past the presence of the current Gold Cup holder might have frightened off any serious opposition, this year’s race promises to be riveting.

Minella Indo helped to headline Henry de Bromhead’s unbelievable success at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, during which the County Waterford trainer also won the Champion Hurdle with Honeysuckle and the Champion Chase with Put The Kettle On.

It had been announced earlier in the week that Jack Kennedy would retain the ride on Minella Indo. However, his boss Gordon Elliott has claimed his services, meaning Rachael Blackmore takes the ride.

Paul Nicholls’ Frodon continued to surprise last year – and having won the Ryanair in 2019, he took his form to a new level last Christmas, making every yard of the running in Kempton’s showpiece.

Frodon jumps the last clear in the King George
Frodon jumps the last clear in the King George (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Having failed to see out the Gold Cup trip, he then bounced back on the final day of the season at Sandown to take the Oaksey Chase.

He is the winner of 17 races in his career, and Bryony Frost will be seeking her 10th success on his back.

Galvin is the unknown quantity for Elliott. He has won his last six, including the National Hunt Chase last March when with Ian Ferguson while Elliott served his suspension.

This represents a big step up in class, and will be his first run in a Grade One over fences.

Galvin was a Cheltenham Festival winner in March
Galvin was a Cheltenham Festival winner in March (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Elliott also runs Delta Work, the mount of Kennedy – who two seasons ago won the Savills Chase and Irish Gold Cup – and Ravenhill, the National Hunt Chase winner from 2020.

Envoi Allen also returns to action, on something of a retrieval mission in the Join Racing TV Chase.

A faller on his first run for De Bromhead at Cheltenham after being switched from Elliott by owners Cheveley Park Stud, he then went wrong at Punchestown and was pulled up.

That was Blackmore’s first time riding him, and with Davy Russell required to ride for Elliott she is back on board this weekend.

Elliott’s Coko Beach and Vado Forte take him on, along with Fairyhill Run in a field of six.

Minella Indo tops seven in Champion Chase contention

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Minella Indo heads seven confirmations for the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday.

Henry de Bromhead’s eight-year-old defeated his stable companion A Plus Tard to take the blue riband prize after being beaten at Leopardstown on his two previous starts.

Road To Respect, the winner in 2018 and 2019, could make a belated return to action. Noel Meade’s charge has been on the sidelines since finishing third in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December 2019.

Delta Work, fourth and fifth in the last two runnings of this race, is one of three possibles from Gordon Elliott’s stable. The others are Galvin, winner of his last six starts, and Ravenhill.

Elliott’s record of four wins in this race is matched by that of Paul Nicholls. The Ditcheat handler provides the only UK raider in Frodon, who lifted the King George VI Chase at Kempton last Christmas.

John Ryan’s Fairyhill Run also holds an entry in the Grade Two Join Racing TV Chase on the same card.

Cheveley Park’s jump stars gear up for Down Royal

Two of Cheveley Park Stud’s National Hunt stars, Envoi Allen and Quilixios, are set to return to action at Down Royal’s two-day Festival of Racing fixture.

Quilixios, winner of the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, is to reappear in the WKD Hurdle on Friday – while Envoi Allen is on course to make his eagerly-awaited comeback in the Grade Two Join Racing TV Chase over two miles three and a half furlongs on Saturday.

Both horses, trained by Henry de Bromhead, have points to prove – with Envoi Allen having his first race since undergoing surgery for a chipped joint and Quilixios aiming to bounce back after disappointing in the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown in May.

“Envoi Allen and Quilixios will be out at the weekend,” said Chris Richardson, managing director for owners Cheveley Park Stud.

Envoi Allen fell at Cheltenham and was pulled up at Punchestown, but has been pleasing connections at home as he prepares for his return. He is one of seven entries, with his former trainer Gordon Elliott responsible for both Coko Beach and Vado Forte.

“We’re very happy with him, and he’s in good heart. He schooled well, and Saturday looks right for him, fingers crossed,” said Richardson.

“It’s a bit of a nerve racking one. Let’s hope he gets round all right and safely.

“It’s a nice opportunity to get Quilixios started there too.”

Ferny Hollow is another exciting prospect for Cheveley Park, who could be on the comeback trail quite soon too.

Ferny Hollow, winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2020 could soon be back on the comeback trail
Ferny Hollow, winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2020, could soon be back on the comeback trail (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The 2020 Cheltenham bumper winner, trained by Willie Mullins, has been sidelined since making a successful hurdling debut at Gowran Park in November when he had subsequent Cheltenham Festival scorer Bob Olinger in second place.

“He’s fine. Obviously he’s a little bit further behind. We’re happy with him,” added Richardson.

“Plans are still up in the air. Willie plays his card close to his chest, but we’ll be focusing a bit more when we get the horses in training sale out of the way (this week).

“They’ve all had the chance to recuperate, so we’ll hold our breath.”

Billaway back in business at Down Royal

Cheltenham Festival runner-up Billaway got back to winning ways in the Bluegrass Horse Feeds Hunters Chase at Down Royal.

In a hotly-contested race that is usually run on Boxing Day, Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old eventually ran out a six-and-a-half-length winner, justifying 5-4 favouritism under Patrick Mullins.

However, he had briefly looked in trouble as both Winged Leader and Aloneamongmillions appeared to be travelling better before Billaway got a second wind.

Billaway was a 10-length second to It Came To Pass at Cheltenham in March and was cut to 5-1 favourite from 7-1 for the same event next year by Paddy Power.

“Again today he seemed to hit a flat spot and then came back on it,” said the winning rider.

“His jumping is getting much quicker. In Cheltenham last year we weren’t losing ground, but we weren’t making any ground at every fence whereas the winner was.

“I think the extra experience he has this year will shorten the gap, hopefully.

Billaway and Patrick Mullins return
Billaway and Patrick Mullins return (Michael Graham)

“I think he is still improving and I think he is a better horse this year than last year. I think his jumping is getting slicker. That’s what he needed to do, so he is doing it.

“There’s no Leopardstown, so he’ll go to Thurles at the end of January.”

Battleoverdoyen strikes at Down Royal as Elliott bags five winners

Battleoverdoyen returned to winning ways in the Lough Construction Ltd. Chase at Down Royal as he formed part of a Gordon Elliott five-timer.

Elliott’s seven-year-old looked sure to take high-rank among the novices last season having won a Grade One at Christmas.

But a fall in the Flogas Novice Chase and a well-beaten fourth at Cheltenham meant he had questions to answer on his return, especially up against stablemate Samcro and the odds-on favourite Easy Game.

However, Mark Walsh kept things simple and his mount never put a foot wrong, taking up the running in the straight to beat Easy Game by six lengths.

Betfair introduced the winner into their Ryanair betting at 14-1.

Elliott said: “He ran a great race and I’m delighted. He’s a good horse and I’d say we were going too far with him at the end of last year.

“I’d say two and half miles for him, something like the John Durkan, and Samcro could go there too.

“Samcro had a great race and Jack (Kennedy) said he would nearly have won if he didn’t make a mistake at the wrong time. It knocked the stuffing out of him. He did well to get back into it.”

Elliott, Kennedy and Cheveley Park Stud were all able to breath a sigh of relief following Envoi Allen’s faultless chasing debut on Friday and had two more nice prospects win earlier on the card.

Ballyadam had little trouble in opening his account over hurdles
Ballyadam had little trouble in opening his account over hurdles (Niall Carson/PA)

Ballyadam (4-6 favourite) cost over £300,000 at the sales, but odds-on punters had their fingers burned on his Rules debut last season.

He made no mistake next time in a bumper, though, and is already as low as 10-1 with Betfair for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle having cruised to a 12-length success in the Tayto Group Maiden Hurdle and bigger targets await.

Elliott said: “He’s a fair horse. If he had winged the last, he would have gone 10 lengths further clear. He has actually learned by missing the last.

“He’ll step up into Graded company now, he’s very quick – I’d say something like the Royal Bond.

“He’s pretty smart.”

Quilixios strolled to victory with bigger targets ahead
Quilixios strolled to victory with bigger targets ahead (Niall Carson/PA)

Elliott has already unleashed some smart three-year-old hurdlers, but Quilixios may be the best of them.

He did not come off the bridle in winning the Metcollect 3yo Hurdle, but he was a prohibitive 1-16 favourite and now holds the honour of heading the early betting for the Triumph Hurdle.

Elliott said: “He couldn’t have done that any easier, it was a canter around for him. He’s so laid-back about it.

“Jack said he picked up from the second last and galloped in. He’s better than that race.

“He may be one to go straight to Christmas (Leopardstown) with. Obviously there is Fairyhouse, but I think we will go straight to Christmas. He has loads of experience.”

The Cheveley Park colours were also carried to victory in the closing bumper as Elliott won it for the sixth year in a row with Sir Gerhard (2-5 favourite) who made a huge impression in the hands of Jamie Codd.

Elliott also won the feature Ladbrokes Champion Chase with The Storyteller to cap a fruitful two days at Down Royal.

He said: “It’s been a great couple of days with eight winners here and a winner in Wetherby too. A few got beaten and a few won and that’s the way it is, but I’m very happy with the way it went.

“He (Sir Gerhard) is a nice horse. We might go to Navan now for that Listed bumper and see where we go from there.”

Cayd Boy (10-1) provided Liz Doyle with a nice winner in the WKD Handicap Hurdle.

Walsh brought the handicap newcomer down the outside, which meant he missed trouble at the second last when The Very Man fell, bringing down Drop The Anchor.

Walsh said: “We actually didn’t go much of a gallop which suited my fellow because he has a good turn of foot.

“I just got a nice position turning into the straight, kicked him on at the second last and he winged it.”

The Storyteller takes Champion Chase honours in thrilling Down Royal finish

The Storyteller landed the biggest success of his career when pipping Chris’s Dream in a thrilling renewal of the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal.

Gordon Elliott’s nine-year-old has been in the form of his life through the autumn, but he has regularly come up short in Grade One company since winning at the highest level as a novice.

Dropped out at the rear by Keith Donoghue, The Storyteller came through to challenge Chris’s Dream between the last two fences and the two settled down to fight it out.

For most of the run to the line, Henry de Bromhead’s Chris’s Dream looked likely to hold on, but Donoghue was not to be denied aboard 9-2 shot The Storyteller, who prevailed by a neck.

Noel Meade’s Tout Est Permis stayed on for third past a weakening Presenting Percy.

“The ground not going too deep suited him. He’s a horse of a lifetime and has always been a brilliant horse for the Sloans (owners),” said Elliott

“He might get a bit of a break, he wouldn’t want really heavy ground. They’ll all go to the usual places over Christmas.

Keith Donoghue celebrates the biggest success of his career
Keith Donoghue celebrates the biggest success of his career (Niall Carson/PA)

“It’s great for Keith, he’s a big part of our team. He’s had loads of chances and he proves when he gets the chances how good he is.”

Of Presenting Percy, who was making his debut for Elliott, the trainer added: “Denis (O’Regan) was happy with him and said he blew up. The ground just wasn’t as soft as he would have wanted.”

Elliott also saddled fifth-placed Delta Work, eighth Ravenhill and Alpha Des Obeaux, who finished last of the nine runners.

The trainer said: “Jack (Kennedy, jockey) was happy with Delta Work, but he just got tired. The rest of them finished where they should.”

2020 Ladbrokes Champion Chase Trends

Staged at Down Royal racecourse in Ireland this Saturday’s (31st October 2020) Ladbrokes Champion Chase (formerly the JNwine.com Chase) always attracts some of the best chasers from both England and Ireland.

Run over 3m the Grade 1 contest has been won by greats such as Kauto Star, Beef Or Salmon, Looks Like Trouble and Florida Pearl in the past. With top UK trainer Paul Nicholls winning 4 of the last 13 renewals then anything he sends across the Irish Sea should be respected, while the powerful Gordon Elliott camp have also saddled three of the last 7 winners.

Also note the Noel Meade stable, as they have landed three of the last six renewals, including the last two runnings with Road To Respect, but isn’t entered in the 2020 race, while it's a race the Gigginstown House Stud horses have done very well in recently - they've won ALL of the last seven runnings!

Here at GEEGEEZ.co.uk we are on hand with all the key stats head of the 2020 renewal – this year run on Saturday 31st October 2020

 

Recent Ladbrokes Champion Chase Winners

2019 – ROAD TO RESPECT (5/2)
2018 – ROAD TO RESPECT (6/4 fav)
2017 – OUTLANDER (16/1)
2016 – VALSEUR LIDO (2/1 fav)
2015 – DON COSSACK (2/11 fav)
2014 ROAD TO RICHES (9/2)
2013 – ROI du MEE (12/1)
2012 – KAUTO STONE (4/1)
2011 – QUITO de la ROQUE (11/4 fav)
2010 – KAUTO STAR (4/7 fav)
2009 – THE LISTENER (7/1)
2008 – KAUTO STAR (2/5 fav)
2007 – TARANIS (10/11 fav)
2006 – BEEF OR SALMON (11/4)
2005 – No Race
2004 – BEEF OR SALMON (Evs)
2003 – GLENELLY GALE (7/1)
2002 – MORE THAN A STROLL (20/1)
2001 – FOXCHAPEL KING (4/1)

Ladbrokes Champion Chase Betting Trends

16/18 – Had won at least a Grade 2 Chase before
14/18 – Had won at least 5 times over fences before
14/18 – Had won over at least 3m over fences before
13/18 – Aged 8 or older
13/18 – Winning distance 2 ½ lengths or more
12/18 – Returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting
11/18 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
11/18 – Had won a Grade 1 Chase before
9/18 – Having their first run of the season (including 8 of last 12 winners)
9/18 – Had run at Down Royal before
8/18 – Won by a Gigginstown House Stud-owned horse (all of last 7)
8/18 – Winning favourites
5/18 – Raced at Aintree last time out
4/18 – Raced at Limerick last time out
4/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
4/18 – Won their last race
3/18 – Trained by Gordon Elliott (3 of the last 7)
3/18 – Trained by Noel Meade (3 of last 6)
The average winning SP in the last 18 runnings is 5/1

 

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Delta and Percy head Elliott quintet in Ladbrokes Champion Chase

Delta Work and Presenting Percy lead a five-strong team for Gordon Elliott in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal.

The Cullentra handler has saddled three previous winners of the first Grade One of the Irish jumps season in Roi Du Mee (2013), subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack (2015) and Outlander (2017) – and appears intent on adding to his tally.

The likely favourite on Saturday is Delta Work, who was disappointing when well fancied 12 months ago, but went on to claim a huge Grade One double at Leopardstown in the Savills Chase and the Irish Gold Cup, before finishing fifth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“Delta Work never got into a rhythm in the Gold Cup and wasn’t beaten that far,” said Elliott.

“He jumped well all season prior to that. Jack Kennedy seems to be the key to this horse – he seems to really travel and do everything right for him.”

Presenting Percy makes his debut for Elliott, after being moved from Pat Kelly’s yard.

The nine-year-old looked every inch a potential Gold Cup winner when dominating his rivals in the 2018 RSA Chase, but he has never quite re-discovered that brilliance since – and was behind Delta Work twice at Leopardstown last term before falling at Cheltenham.

Presenting Percy will make his debut for Gordon Elliott
Presenting Percy will make his debut for Gordon Elliott (David Davies/PA)

Elliott added: “Presenting Percy is a horse I like, and I’m looking forward to running him.

“I’d seen the horse plenty of times at the races before he arrived here, so I knew enough about him. I was thrilled to get the phone call and I’m very lucky to get him.”

Kennedy has returned from injury in time to renew his partnership with Delta Work, while Denis O’Regan rides Presenting Percy.

The Storyteller (Keith Donoghue), Alpha Des Obeaux (Bryan Cooper) and Ravenhill (Mark Walsh) complete the Elliott quintet.

Few trainers have their horses in better form than Noel Meade, who saddles Snow Falcon and Tout Est Permis in a bid for a third successive victory in the race following the back-to-back triumphs of the currently sidelined Road To Respect.

Meade said: “Snow Falcon is getting on a bit now. But he worked well on Tuesday morning – and so did Tout Est Permis.

“Snow Falcon might find a few of the younger fellows hard to beat, but he’s in good form and goes well fresh.

“We ran Tout Est Permis over hurdles a few times last year because he looked very well handicapped, but it never quite worked out.

“He finished second behind The Storyteller at Punchestown a couple of weeks ago, and I think he’s come on a ton – I think he’ll put up a big show.”

Henry de Bromhead’s pair of Chris’s Dream and Balko Des Flos complete the nine-strong field.

The main supporting race on Saturday’s card is the Grade Two Lough Construction Ltd. Chase, in which Elliott’s dual Cheltenham Festival hero Samcro takes top billing.

The eight-year-old bolted up on his chasing debut over the course and distance last season before ending his campaign with a narrow but memorable victory over Melon and Faugheen in an epic Marsh Novices’ Chase in the Cotswolds.

“We went down the Champion Hurdle route with him a couple of seasons ago, and that didn’t work out, but he didn’t do much wrong last year,” said Elliott.

“He won in Down Royal and then fell in the Drinmore in Fairyhouse when I felt he might have won.

Easy Game is among Samcro's rivals
Easy Game is among Samcro’s rivals (Brian Lawless/PA)

“It was a terrible decision by me to run him in heavy ground at Limerick over Christmas (when second to Faugheen).

“Sometimes you get lured into running in these races because they’re Grade Ones and you want to support them, but he won’t be running in heavy ground this season.

“I’d say he’ll go to Down Royal, then the John Durkan, the Kinloch Brae and then the Ryanair Chase in Cheltenham. He’ll probably have an entry in the King George as well – that’s what I have in my head at the moment.

“He’s in great form.”

Samcro is joined by stable companion Battleoverdoyen, with the Willie Mullins-trained Easy Game appearing the biggest threat.

Jessica Harrington’s Sizing Pottsie and Eamon Delaney’s Yaha Fizz are the other hopefuls.