This is a particularly dangerous time of year for Gordon Elliott. He begins to gear up for his first major target of the season, Down Royal. Every runner the County Meath-based trainer has between now and when Down Royal’s Champion Chase meeting begins on November 4th, has to be taken seriously. The man means business and runs two at Clonmel on Thursday. Check out our free tips page for daily content across British and Irish racing. Follow us on Twitter @myracingtips where you can stay up to date and have your say.
Landrake (7-2, Paddy Power) makes his hurdles and seasonal debut, having had three runs in bumpers. The first of those was an impossible task at Leopardstown on Boxing Day. Up against Facile Vega, a victory never looked likely but he did finish third. Despite being beaten by 19 lengths, it was a promising enough debut effort, especially within the context of Facile Vega’s exploits since. Improved to be narrowly denied by another Mullins runner at Navan next time which was a thoroughly likable performance. Clearly wasn’t right at Downpatrick in March when pulling up, a performance you can put a line through. Related to a Grand National winner, he should thrive now going over some obstacles.
Ballykeel (15-2, Paddy Power) has had just five starts over hurdles so you would have to think there’s more to come. He was given a hard task on hurdles debut, taking on subsequent two-time Grade 1-winner The Nice Guy at Naas. Went up to 2m4f at Leopardstown next time and duly obliged. There were several subsequent winners in behind that day, giving the form plenty of substance. Ran as if he needed it at Punchestown on seasonal debut earlier this month and was slightly impeded. Should be sharper here with the benefit of that run under his belt and this looks like a good opportunity.
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