Gordon Elliott will receive around 20 of the horses leaving Mullins
PICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
By tony mcfadden 6:00pM 28 SEP 2016
GORDON ELLIOTT, who will be the main beneficiary of the fallout between Willie Mullins and Gigginstown House Stud, has described the arrival of a clutch of talented horses as a “massive boost” for his stable.
Already Gigginstown’s main trainer based on numbers, Elliott delivered the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the powerful owner with Don Cossack and was trimmed to 11-10 to be Ireland’s champion trainer by Paddy Power, with Mullins still the odds-on favourite at 4-6.
“I’ve been told I’m getting around 20 horses, including Don Poli and Apple’s Jade, A Toi Phil and Blow By Blow,” said Elliott.
“Obviously, it’s a massive boost and great for the yard getting so many new horses. It’s come as a surprise but we’ll try to do as best we can with the new batch.”
Some 60 horses have been removed from Mullins’ stable, with Mouse Morris, Henry de Bromhead, Joseph O’Brien and Noel Meade the other trainers set to benefit from the switch.
‘Very hard horses to replace’
Confirming the split with Gigginstown, founded by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, Mullins said on At The Races: “Yes, we are parting company. It is basically over fees. I put my fees up for the first time in ten years. Gigginstown chose not to pay them.
“I’m not willing to try to maintain the standards I have [without putting the fees up], so that’s the way it is.”
Mullins admitted that the loss of such a large amount of horses, including Grade 1 winners such as Apple’s Jade and Don Poli, will be a blow but was magnanimous and wished Gigginstown the best.
“They will be very hard horses to replace. I don’t know where they’re going to go,” Mullins said. “They [Gigginstown] have been great to us with some fantastic horses and we wish them all the best, but we move on.”
The decision to remove the horses from Mullins was taken “with condsiderable regret”, according to a statement Gigginstown issued to RTÉ Sport.
It read: “As Gigginstown House Stud has been unable to reach agreement with Willie Mullins on an increase in training fees, we have agreed – with considerable regret – to move the Gigginstown horses to alternative trainers for the coming 2016-17 season.
“Gigginstown wishes to sincerely thank Willie and all the team at Closutton for the many Grade 1 races we have won together over the past seven years.”
The chance of a reunion between the two parties down the line was not ruled out, as the statement added: “We hope that an agreement can be reached at some time in the future which will allow Willie to resume buying and training more graded winners for us.”