Thursday, 1 June 2017

1000 winner Gordon Elliott's top five Cheltenham Festival moments

Gordon Elliott enjoyed his 1000th winner on Wednesday, as Moonday Sun struck at Punchestown. The Irish trainer has enjoyed success in the biggest races in jump racing including the Grand National, and Gold Cup. But what have been his landmark success in the biggest meeting of the National Hunt season.

1) Don Cossack – Gold Cup (2016)
The pinnacle of the Festival, and the race every trainer wants to win. Don Cossack aimed for redemption after falling in the King George. He prepped by winning the Kinloch Brae easily, and was sent off the 9/4 favourite. Under the hands of Bryan Cooper he powered home to defy Djakadam and the already fallen Cue Card. There is no better prize in jumps racing than the Gold Cup.

2) Champagne Classic – Martin Pipe (2017)
After four straight dominant years of Willie Mullins taking the top trainer’s prize, Gordon Elliott took the crown in the most fascinating of battles in recent years. Despite an early burst of winners, the County Carlow handler hit back with a Thursday four-timer. Elliott had the final say as Champagne Classic forged clear to hand him the title on countback.  

3 Cause Of Causes – Cross Country Chase (2017)
One of the most popular Festival horses in recent years is Cause Of Cause. In 2017, he bidded for a third straight Festival win in the iconic colours of JP McManus. With amateur Jamie Codd aboard, he powered home strongest to beat stable rival Bless The Wings by a mighty five lengths. On his next start he went on to finish second in the Grand National.

4) Chicago Grey - National Hunt Chase (2011)
Following a novice win at Cheltenham in October, Chicago Grey had established himself as an exciting novice over the longer trips. With the 4 mile contest the plan, he prepared by finishing a good fifth in a Grade One contest in Ireland. As a 5-1 favourite, he failed to disappoint his fans. Having been ridden patiently, he slowly made ground throughout the race and powered home to give Elliott his first ever Festival success.

5) Labaik – Supreme Novice (2017)
The Festival’s biggest shock winner came in the curtain raiser, outsider Labaik came into the race finishing 100 lengths behind in a Novice hurdle and refusing to race in the two races prior. He defied odds of 50-1 to defeat Willie Mullins’ highly-thought prospect Melon. The packed stands of Cheltenham were left silent, and bookies virtually empty.

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