Smiling Eliza and Jack Kennedy were back together in a 3 Y O Hurdle at Punchestown for the first time since they won a 3 Year Old hurdle at Down Royal. Amazingly the going was still good, good to firm in places, even though we had 2 days of non stop rain at the end of last week.
Jack had her just off the front and no further back than 5th in a field of 15. What we’ve learnt is that this is where she likes to be and Jack seems to know that better than anyone. She jumped well the whole way round and when she was told to go coming round the final bend she went and kept going, flying over the last and stretched 6 lengths clear crossing the line. Eliza has been so consistent and this was very similar to her win at Down Royal.
She has had various jockeys over fences including Denis O’Regan and Richard Johnson who have both finished 2nd on her but Eliza and Jack Kennedy seem to be made for each other. It was another beautiful ride from the heir apparent to Davy Russell and Ruby Walsh. They are 2 from 2 together and afterwards club members were online discussing what her options are now. The JNWine Chase Festival at Down Royal at the start of November was a popular shout among the Northern Irish but Gordon Elliott blew the roof off the club house with talk of aiming her at a Mares Hurdle at Aintree. He told Irishracing.com “She’s honest and she tries. There is a mares’ Listed hurdle at Aintree she could go for and we’ll try and get some black type. She’s done more than we ever expected her to do. We’ll keep her going while the ground is good and she wouldn’t run on real winter heavy ground”.
This racing club has plenty of ups and downs. A few days ago we were mourning the loss of Forrardon Xmoor and now there’s serious talk of a club horse entering a listed race at probably the most famous race course in the world.
Not only that but one of the club members posted a screen shot from Paddy Power which has Smiling Eliza at 66/1 for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next year! Every national hunt racing fan dreams of having a horse running at Aintree and Cheltenham, could the dream become a reality?