Tag Archive for: Imagine

Imagine heading towards Kinloch Brae for next outing

Promising novice Imagine looks set for a step into open company on his next start, with the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles in his sights.

A useful hurdler last season, Gordon Elliott’s charge has thrived since switching to the larger obstacles this term, scoring in heavy ground at Fairyhouse in November before successfully stepping up to Grade Two company at Punchestown a few weeks later.

Connections had suggested a run at Kempton in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase was a possibility over the Christmas period, but with French raider Il Est Francais convincing most to stay away, the Imagine team decided to hold fire in favour of other options.

Now the Caldwell Construction Ltd-owned six-year-old will tackle two and a half miles for the first time over fences in a Group Two event won by Allaho in two of the past three years.

“He runs at Thurles in a Grade Two over two and a half miles,” said Joey Logan, racing manager for the the owners.

“We just didn’t want to run again to soon with him (after the Craddockstown) and we were thinking of going to Kempton (on Boxing Day) but we decided not to with it being three miles and with the French horse coming over.

“We didn’t want to run him over three miles at Leopardstown, so we said we would keep him fresh and the plan is to go to Thurles on January 21.

“He’s still a baby and there is a similar race coming along for Fil D’or as well. These are all young horses and they are coming along nicely and we’re very lucky to have them.”

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Imagine a Kempton Christmas possible

Gordon Elliott’s promising novice chaser Imagine could head across the Irish Sea for a Grade One start at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The five-year-old began his chasing career this season, starting out at Fairyhouse in a beginners event he won by a comfortable two and a half lengths.

He then stepped up in class at Punchestown late last month to contest the Grade Two Craddockstown Novice Chase.

Under Jack Kennedy, Imagine was required to dig deeper than on debut but he did so to come home the winner when crossing the line half a length ahead of John Ryan’s Lucid Dreams.

A step up in trip is now afoot and so too is a step up in grade, as the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day is pencilled into his diary – a Grade One event run over an extended three miles.

Imagine crossing the line at Punchestown
Imagine crossing the line at Punchestown (PA)

Alternatively, Imagine holds two entries at Leopardstown’s festive meeting, over two miles and a furlong in the Racing Post Novice Chase and over three miles and half a furlong in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase – both Grade Ones.

He is also in Limerick’s Guinness Faugheen Novice Chase over nearly two and a half miles.

Imagine is owned by Andy and Gemma Brown of Caldwell Construction, whose racing manager Joey Logan said of the gelding: “We’re very happy with him, to be honest.

“He stepped up from his beginners in Fairyhouse and won the Grade Two and we were very happy with that.

“He wants further really, two miles is a bit short and we’re hoping we might step him up at Christmas time.

“I think the further he goes, the better he’ll be. We’re looking at the Grade One on Boxing Day at Kempton, that’s a possibility.

“He’ll have an entry and we’ll sit down with Gordon to discuss. If not, it’ll be Leopardstown but that’s what we’re thinking of at the moment.”

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Imagine digs deep to claim Craddockstown crown

Imagine was made to pull out all the stops to maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the BetVictor Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown.

The five-year-old made a smart start to his chasing career at Fairyhouse earlier in the month and was a 30-100 favourite to follow up at Grade Two level just under three weeks later.

Supporters of Gordon Elliott’s charge were made to sweat, though, with Uncle Phil giving a bold sight in front for a long way, while the late challenge of Lucid Dreams provided another scare.

However, Imagine eventually mastered Uncle Phil after the final fence and had just enough in the tank to repel Lucid Dreams by half a length.

Elliott and jockey Jack Kennedy were completing a treble on the card following the earlier victories of 4-1 shots Shannon Royale and Bob Cigar.

Elliott said: “He’s a nice horse and probably wants further. Two and a half miles would probably suit him better.

“The Grade One in Limerick at Christmas could be an option or we might bring him to Kempton on Boxing Day for the Grade One novice (Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, over three miles) and run Gerri Colombe in the King George, but I could change my mind 10 times before then!”

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Zanahiyr likely to take on Constitution Hill in Champion Hurdle

Zanahiyr, who was disqualified from third place behind Honeysuckle in last year’s Champion Hurdle after testing positive for a banned raceday substance, is set to take on Constitution Hill in this season’s renewal.

Trainer Gordon Elliott was fined £1,000 by an independent disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority after a post-race urine test from Zanahiyr was found to contain 3-hydroxylidocaine, a metabolite of the local anaesthetic lidocaine, the source of which could not be established.

Elliott, speaking at the Cheltenham’s launch of the handicap weights, said he is keen to let him take his chance in the Unibet-sponsored day one feature.

He said: “We’ll probably confirm him for the Champion Hurdle and see what numbers are left in. If there are five or six runners, there is every chance he will take his chance in the Champion and we’ll ride him for a place.

“Obviously it looks a very hot race, with Constitution Hill and State Man and a few others, but our idea is we are going to go.

“We will get a look at all the weights (in other races) and see what’s what. It will probably be by the end of the week before we confirm what is going where.”

Conflated is Gold Cup-bound
Conflated is Gold Cup-bound (Niall Carson/PA)

Conflated is the County Meath-based yard’s big Gold Cup hope, having landed the Savills Chase over Christmas.

He fell in last year’s Ryanair Chase, and while Elliott has no qualms about his ability to handle the course, he feels he is different to Don Cossack, who won the blue riband for Cullentra House in 2016.

He said of the nine-year-old: “We are happy with where we are and really looking forward to it now we are two weeks out – we can’t wait.

“Conflated has had a good preparation. He was very good at Leopardstown the last day and was running a good race in the Ryanair last year.

“He is in good nick. It is a competitive race but an open race and we are looking forward to running him.”

He added: “Don Cossack was probably a classier horse and a quicker horse, where Conflated is a real galloper and the trip of the Gold Cup will really suit him.

“We got him in the wrong race last year and we are really looking forward to the Gold Cup now.”

Owner Michael O’Leary (centre) celebrates in the parade ring after winning the Glenfarclas Chase with Delta Work (left), alongside runner-up Tiger Roll
Owner Michael O’Leary (centre) celebrates in the parade ring after winning the Glenfarclas Chase with Delta Work (left), alongside runner-up Tiger Roll (Steven Paston/PA)

Elliott will have four runners in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, spearheaded by last year’s winner Delta Work, who upset stablemate and dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll 12 months ago.

Elliott said: “Delta Work is in great form. This has been the plan since we brought him over to Cheltenham the last day.

“We are really looking forward to the race, but Galvin is going to run in the race along with Mortal and Hardline, so we are going to have four in that one.

“Delta spoiled the part last year (beating Tiger Roll) but obviously Galvin is a good horse.”

The yard appears to have a strong hand in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle where the Gary Moore-trained Botox Has is top-weight on 12st.

Salvador Ziggy, The Bosses Oscar, Maxxum and Level Neverending are all set to run for Elliott, who said: “Maxxum didn’t get the best of runs the last day. The Bosses Oscar was second a few years ago, he obviously has a bad mark, but we are looking forward to running them.”

American Mike, who was runner-up to Facile Vega in last season’s Champion Bumper, could be a dark horse for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on day two, despite failing to impress on a couple of occasions subsequently.

Elliott feels he could surprise and said: “If he runs, it will be in the Ballymore.

“He has been disappointing, but I wouldn’t give him up on him just yet.”

Three Card Brag, a runaway winner of a Fairyhouse novice hurdle in January, holds several entries in handicaps, but could end up in the Albert Bartlett.

“At the moment we are kind of leaning towards the Albert Bartlett. He is a very good horse and he is going to be an exciting chaser next year.,” Elliott said.

There is no doubting the regard in which Elliott holds Mighty Potter, who is unbeaten in three starts over fences, including twice at the top level. He holds entries in both the Brown Advisory and Turners Novices’ Chase.

Mighty Potter could be a star in the making
Mighty Potter could be a star in the making (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Asked if he could be the best he has trained, Elliott replied: “It is very hard to say. He has done nothing wrong in his career so far.

“I know it is the old saying that when you are jumping hurdles you say you are looking forward to going chasing, but with Mighty Potter it really does look the case.

“He is very good horse. We will be nervous looking at him, because we are really looking forward to him running.”

Though pulled up behind Constitution Hill in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year, Mighty Potter gained Grade One laurels at Punchestown and has been foot-perfect over fences this term.

Elliott added: “He blew out here last year. He made a mistake early and never got into a rhythm. Jack (Kennedy) very wisely eased up on him and saved him and we had a horse for Punchestown.

“He never really jumped a hurdle as well as he did fences.”

Asked for one horse whom he felt was his best chance in one of the Cheltenham handicaps, Elliott said: “Imagine in the Martin Pipe. If he runs, he will have a great chance.”

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