It was a weekend to savour from the racing side of things. Shishkin delivered another remarkable performance, while The Cob thrust himself into the Albert Bartlett picture with victory in the River Don. The former was part of a magnificent Saturday winner in the form of a 1065-1 double!
Perhaps the most informative day for the Festival picture, however, was Thursday. Gowran Park hosted a strong card that included both the Galmoy Hurdle and the Thyestes Chase, with the latter producing a dominant winner.
Gordon Elliott has enjoyed plenty of success in the National Hunt Chase, with winners in 2011, 2015, 2017 and 2020. It looks as though one of his key 2021 charges ran in the aforementioned Thyestes. Elliott was sweet on his chance after the race, and you can find all the details below!
“You would imagine the National Hunt Chase might suit him”
As mentioned before, the National Hunt Chase has been a favourite Cheltenham Festival race for Elliott. He’s thrown some very smart horses into the mix, including Tiger Roll and Cause of Causes.
He currently holds the market leader, with Galvin a general 5/1 chance, but Coko Beach threw his hat into the ring with a dominant Thyestes victory on Thursday. He arrived to Gowran Park as a four-race maiden over fences, having been set some tough tasks over the larger obstacles.
That all changed with the fitting of the blinkers. Ridden by Jack Kennedy, he breezed through the contest and was travelling best heading to the third-last. Still on the bridle over that fence, he extended clear approaching the last. It was an impressive success for an unexposed and evidently classy stayer.
It was a performance that excited Elliott, who told Racing Post after the race: “The blinkers definitely sharpened him up. You would imagine the National Hunt Chase might suit him so we’ll have a look at that now.”
His rider was also taken aback by the runaway success, telling Racing Post: “It was very easy. He jumped and travelled unbelievably well. I just couldn’t believe how well I was going after jumping the third-last. He got the job done very well.”
14/1 could crumble
Coko Beach is a general 14/1 for the National Hunt Chase and after such a clinical performance off a mark of 138, you’d have to imagine the contest would be right up his alley.
He’s currently 14/1 with just four major bookmakers, with the rest making him either a 12/1 or 10/1 chance. Elliott’s strapping grey holds entries in both the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase and the Leopardstown Handicap Steeplechase at the Dublin Racing Festival, with a good run in either likely to shake up the market even further.
When Elliott speaks, it’s always best to listen, and this could be another example of that.