Cheltenham Festival 2019: Can Gordon Elliott Retain His Top Trainers Title?
12 February 2019
The 2018 Cheltenham Festival turned out to be another fruitful four days for Ireland with Davy Russell securing the top jockeys title at Prestbury Park as well as Gordon Elliott managing to come out on top in the battle of the trainers. The County Meath-based handler edged out Willie Mullins courtesy of two final-day winners and 41-year old looks likely to retain his title in 2019.
Source: Racing Post via Twitter
Elliott described his achievement as “a dream come true” and was particularly pleased to have won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. The now-retired trainer has been previously been described as a “hero” by Elliott on https://www.sportinglife.com/, who spoke in glowing terms about the 74-year old’s attention to detail.
His mesmeric 2018 continued with Tiger Roll’s victory in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree in mid-April and the diminutive chaser is likely to return to Gloucestershire in 2019, having been entered in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase once again.
Gordon Elliott’s notable winners at the 2018 festival included Samcro, Shattered Love and Veneer of Charm and he is likely to return to the track with another suitably strong string of runners. He has already been priced up as the 7/4 favourite with the majority of bookmakers to retain his title ahead of Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins. The latter managed seven winners in total although his failure to secure a winner on the Friday allowed his fellow Irishman to sneak ahead in the standings.
It looks set to be another ding-dong battle between the pair this time around and Gold Cup day is likely to prove pivotal once more. Betfair will be providing tips and analysis throughout the Cheltenham Festival and plenty of drama is expected across the four days. https://betting.betfair.com/horse-racing/cheltenham/gold-cup-day/ will have all of the build-up to a crucial final day on the turf with key races including the Albert Bartlett Novice’s Hurdle, the Foxhunter Chase and The Gold Cup.
Source: Jumps Racing via Twitter
Tiger Roll is likely to be joined by stablemate Apples Jade, who has been touted as one of Elliott’s best chances at the festival whilst Battleoverdoyen is amongst the favourites for the Ballymore Novice’s Hurdle. The Grand National winner is likely to be joined by the hardy Ucello Conti, who is currently the fourth favourite for the Cross Country Chase.
The yard will also be sending a number of bigger-priced runners to Gloucestershire as they aim to cause a few upsets along the way. Rising star Jack Kennedy is likely to be kept busy by Gordon Elliott across the four days. The 21-year has been compared to AP McCoy and rode four winners at last year’s festival.
Nicky Henderson looks set to saddle a number of ante-post favourites including Buveur D’air in the Champion Hurdle as well as the unexposed Angels Breath in the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle on the opening day. However, Elliott’s superb run of form shows no signs of abating and he is likely to be in contention on the final day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him retain his trophy at Prestbury Park as his stable continue to go from strength-to-strength.