Irish trainer Gordon Elliott has already saddled 33 winners at Cheltenham in his short enough time as a trainer to date. He is operating at a healthy 15-per-cent strike-rate at the track and has a profit of £62.28 there to level stakes. When he sends one across the Irish Sea, it is always worth standing up and taking note. He means business when he sends a horse to the UK, whether that is Scotland or England. Interestingly, he sends just one runner to Prestbury Park on Friday.
Gordon won this Cross Country Handicap Chase in 2017 with 12-1 outsider Bless The Wings. He knows what is required to win the race so don’t let the form figures sway you. OUT SAM is an unreliable frustrating horse for the yard but the fact they continue to persevere with him means something. He has gone sixteen runs without success and was a creditable 5th of 19 runners at Cork when last seen 40 days ago. Now an 11-year-old, his days on the racecourse are probably numbered.
Out Sam was third in this race last year behind Easysland, who went on to win the Cross Country Chase at the Festival by half the track. The runner up, Amazing Comedy, has gone on to win his two subsequent races in France. If Elliott’s runner can produce what he did in the race last year, he has to have every chance from a three pound lower mark. Both French rivals don’t run in it this year so he won’t have to worry about them this time around.
He finished third in the big race in March. For all he was beaten 35 lengths, it was a decent run behind two classy horses. This is probably last chance saloon for him now but Gordon will have him spot on for this.