Gordon Elliott: will take on a batch of up to ten yearlings
PICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
By Richard Forristal and Caoimhe Doherty 8:00PM 21 SEP 2016
THE reigning Gold Cup king Gordon Elliott might be many people’s idea of a champion jumps trainer in waiting, but his breakthrough Royal Ascot success with Commissioned last June has led to his agreeing to take on a batch of up to ten yearlings for next year’s Flat campaign.
Elliott, whose roots are in the point-to-point community and who burst on to the scene courtesy of Silver Birch’s memorable 2007 Grand National triumph, was on holiday in Barbados when Commissioned landed the Queen Alexandra Stakes under Adam Kirby.
However, Nick Bradley, who heads the syndicate that owns Commissioned, devised a plan with Elliott’s bloodstock agent Aidan O’Ryan to plot a route back to the royal fixture, and Elliott is the man charged with overseeing the ambitious project.
Bradley has described the initiative as a “commercial venture” that could grow, although Elliott, who has in recent months added the Galway Plate and Kerry National to his growing list of big-race conquests, was keen to stress his focus remains primarily on the jumps.
Hard to refuse
Indeed, while Bradley and O’Ryan were acquiring yearlings at Tattersalls’ elite sale on Wednesday, the trainer was at Perth on another of his raids at the picturesque Scottish jumps venue.
“It is something that they approached me about after Royal Ascot,” explained Elliott, who leads Willie Mullins in the early stages of the domestic jumps championship.
“It will be another challenge and it’s something I’m looking forward to. Obviously, I’m mainly a National Hunt man but we have a lot of staff to keep going now and a lot of good facilities to pay for, so when someone offers you the chance to train up to ten horses for the summer, it’s something I couldn’t refuse.”
Read more on Elliott’s Flat foray in Thursday’s Racing Post – available on your iPad now