Gordon Elliott’s best chances at winning a fourth Grand National
Gordon Elliott was riding the crest of a wave before everything came crashing down around him in early 2021. The Irish handler had won back-to-back Grand National’s with Tiger Roll and had pipped his old rival Willie Mullins to the Cheltenham Festival Leading Trainer in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
However, just weeks out from the 2021 renewal of the Festival, a photo emerged of Elliott sitting on a dead horse at his Cullentra House base in Co. Meath. The fallout was massive as the 45-year-old was banned for 12 months (six of which were suspended) and major owners Cheveley Park Stud and Double Green duo Simon Munir and Isaac Souede cut all ties — moving horses to the likes of Mullins and Henry de Bromhead.
Elliott has rebuilt his reputation in the last couple of years and enjoyed three winners at Prestbury Park last month, with Delta Work retaining his Cross Country Chase title, Jazzy Matty winning the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle and most notably Sire Du Berlais winning the Stayers’ Hurdle from 33/1.
The Grand National is just around the corner now, and there’s no doubt Elliott would love to add a fourth success in the Aintree showpiece to his laundry list of accomplishments. So, with that said, let’s take a look at a couple of his best chances this year.
Owned by Gigginstown House Stud, and therefore riding in the same colours as the great Tiger Roll, the aforementioned Delta Work is Elliott’s best chance at winning this year’s National after the news that Gold Cup third Conflated is being rerouted to the Aintree Bowl instead of taking on this marathon contest.
The Michael O’Leary-led operation is one of the biggest names who stood by Elliott amidst his controversy and the Irish trainer would like nothing more than to repay the Ryanair boss with a third National success.
Delta Work has been slashed to 12/1 from 20/1 in the Grand National betting following his second Cross Country triumph last month, while an allocated weight of 11-4 isn’t the worst as he gears up for a second attempt at the race after finishing third last year — albeit over 20 lengths behind Noble Yeats.
Cross Country second Galvin is Elliott’s next biggest claim, coming in at around a general price of 16/1 having once been as far out as 25/1. The nine-year-old beat stablemate Run Wild Fred by a comfortable five-and-a-half lengths to win a Grade 3 chase at Punchestown on reappearance in October.
However, he then had disappointing runs at Down Royal and Leopardstown — finishing second last in both the Grade 1 Champion Chase and top-level Savills Chase. A second-place finish to Delta Work when stepped up in trip to three miles and six furlongs for the Cross Country Chase last month is more promising and he could benefit further from the additional distance.
Elliott is excited about running Galvin at Aintree as well, saying: “He seems in good form and we are looking forward to running him in the National. I think he will be fine over the fences.”
Fury Road, Milan Native and Coko Beach are another trio of potential runners for Elliott and Gigginstown House, with the former a 25/1 shot and the others both coming in at 33/1.