Ruby Walsh believes Gordon Elliott will be the trainer to follow for the upcoming two-day meeting at Down Royal.
Our resident jockey-turned-pundit says Elliott always targets the JNwine.com Champion Chase weekend as the point to really kick-start his season and has tipped punters to keep an eye on the Meath-based trainer’s runners.
Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Ruby also revealed that Faugheen could continue racing for quite a while as Willie Mullins is unlikely to retire the National Hunt favourite without good reason.
Now 12 years old and focused on chasing, Faugheen has three wins from his last four starts and there is talk of another festival appearance at Cheltenham next year.
So many big names in training start to appear at Down Royal over the two-day meeting, but different trainers target different races at different times of the year.
You can set your clock by Paul Nicholls being at Chepstow in October – that’s when he will start to run and unveil horses.
Willie Mullins is more the Morgiana meeting at Punchestown and Gordon Elliott targets Down Royal. Nicky Henderson will be getting going by Cheltenham in November but by the Hennessy meeting at the end of November his horses will be red-hot in the UK.
Trainers are creatures of habit, and Down Royal is a meeting that you should just follow Gordon Elliott from start to finish because it’s up there for him and that’s what he targets. That’s where a lot of his good horses start their seasons.
Faugheen on form
Where Faugheen will be aimed, I don’t know. There’s no point guessing and my opinion doesn’t really matter – be it Cheltenham, Aintree or Punchestown. But he looks to be in wonderful form and really good order.
Like with Kauto Star all those years ago, when he lets Willie Mullins know he’s not the horse he was or isn’t enthusiastic about racing then that decision will be made.
But as we stand right now – I didn’t see him working on Saturday morning as he was behind me in the string – when we pulled up, John Codd was delighted with him.
It’s all systems go at the moment, but the morning he doesn’t show enthusiasm or starts working below-par, they’ll pull the plug on him.
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