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A NICE FAMILY DAY OUT AT NAVAN TO WATCH SMILING ELIZA

It’s been a difficult few weeks for racing with a few cases of Equine Flu cancelling all meetings in the UK for a week (and even briefly threatening the Cheltenham Festival). Then a load of dick heads tried to hijack Saturday afternoon racing at Haydock and turn it into a city centre at 1 o’clock in the morning. Undeterred, I took advantage of a free Sunday afternoon to bring my wife and son to Navan to see Smiling Eliza run in a 2m4f hurdle for Gordon Elliott Racing Club.

This was my first trip to Navan and I was very impressed with the set up. First of all, the sun was shining and Ireland is a magnificent place when the sun is out. We got passes into the Trainers and Owners Bar which is situated just up from the winning line and above the parade ring. It has a balcony from which you can view the racing and in particular the long, steady climb of the final straight. Also if you look down, you can see Henry DeBromhead, Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott walking from Parade Ring to Weighing Room to Betting Ring without any one of the large crowd  batting an eyelid. There’s also a couple of children’s play areas for the many kids who were brought along for the day out with parents and grandparents. My wee boy had great fun playing there in between races or when I wasn’t making him go over to the Parade Ring to see 14 year old, double Cheltenham Champion, Salsify walking round like he owned the place. I stood just above the finish line and along the rail for his race in which he finished a very gallant third behind Ucello Conti. On the way back over to the play area I walked past Ted Walsh and Ruby, sitting on a window ledge of the Weighing Room, shooting the breeze.

I’d met a few members of the club walking around and I knew there’d be a lot there with at least 11 requests for tickets but it wasn’t until I went down to the parade ring before our race that I realised how many of us were there and quite a few faces I was seeing for the first time. Gordon’s Assistant Busty came out with Jockey Jack Kennedy and told him to keep her about 4th or 5th going round. I asked if there was any chance of her going to Cheltenham now and he said she’d have to win this race  well or another one she’s going to be entered in across the water next week. I walked back up to the balcony with a club member I’d just met. I told him I liked Liffeydale Dreamer in this. Eliza had drifted from 7/2 in the morning out to 6/1. I met my family and we watched the race together. I might have to borrow my da’s binoculars for Cheltenham as I could see the horses running but I couldn’t see exactly what was going on and was relying on the Commentator over the PA to inform me what was happening. Eliza and Jack seemed to be where Busty told them to be but as they came along the final stretch Eliza’s name disappeared from the conversation. Liffeydale Dreamer was mentioned time and time again and as they came over the last, it was only her name and Dragon Houdini (who I wouldn’t have picked in a 2 horse race) left with the latter going on to win by a few lengths.

Eliza finished well down the field and I assumed the longer trip was too much for her. I was late getting down to the paddock to hear Jack’s thoughts but as I was walking in, he was walking out and I was able to get a 1 on 1 conversation with him about the race. I asked him was the trip too long but splattered in mud and slightly exasperated he said no, she got murdered trying to get through a gap and after that she had no chance so he eased off her. It wasn’t until I watched the race when I got home that I saw what happened. Approaching the second last she was in a line of about 6 across the course just behind the leaders and as she went to make her move, she got closed out, stood on and eventually bumped back. It’s hard to know what would have happened even if she’d found the gap and propelled herself into contention with a good jump at the second last but she was there or thereabouts until then.

Eliza gave her all as usual and it was a great day out and a great day for Gordon Elliott who had 4 winners. We didn’t get down in time to see Grand National winner Tiger Roll win a 2m4f hurdle race at 25/1. Hopefully Eliza comes out of the race well and can go again next week.

We also have a new club horse joining us called Flat To The Max ( pictured above )  so looking forward to seeing him race soon.

By Ciaran Hanley
Gordon Elliott Racing Club Club Member
Follow on Twitter – https://twitter.com/CiaranPaco 

By |2019-02-19T21:19:39+00:00February 19th, 2019|

Sunday 9th December

Sunday 9th December  

Today we have a busy day with 13 runners between Cork and Punchestown.  

In the 3 YO maiden hurdle in Cork, we run VISCOUNT WILSON. He has been a bit disappointing for connections and we would need to see some improvement today if he is going to feature in this. Andrew Ring takes the ride. 

GETAWAY JOHN runs in the Charleville Chees Maiden hurdle over 2m. He finished third on his seasonal debut in Cork back in November and has come on well for the run. We would be hopeful for him finishing in the places again today. Keith Donoghue rides. 

ELWOOD runs in the Kerry Group novice hurdle which is a grade 3 contest. He was unlucky when falling on his debut for the yard back in the beginning of November. The half brother to the Grade 1 winning Delta Work has been working well at home and we have schooled him plenty since his fall. Mark Enright takes the ride. 

In the Kerry Group Hillyway chase we run both Doctor Phoenix and A Toi Phil. Both horses were last seen running in the Clonmel Oil Chase back in November. Doctor Phoenix will have come on plenty from that run and all being well we are hopeful of seeing him finish in the placings. A Toi Phil is a tough horse who always runs a big race and we wouldn’t be surprised if ran another today however he does carry top weight. 

In the Kerry Group Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase we run LACKANEEN LEADER. She was never out of the placings in her 3 point to point starts and we could see the best of her over fences. Mark Enright rides. 

Our last runner in Cork is SERIOUS EGO in the Novice Handicap Hurdle .He ran a great race to finish 3rd last time out and the blinkers certainly look to have helped. Hopefully he’ll run another good race today under Keith Donoghue, however he does have to carry top weight.  

In Punchestown COUNT SIMON takes on a  small field in  the  Novice Hurdle over 2m. He hasn’t been on the track since the summer where he ran some good races for connections. He carries bottom weight today and could  be in with a good chance under Davy Russell. 

GROTESQUE makes his second start for the yard today in the Sherry Fitzgerald Lettings Handicap Hurdle. He’s lightly raced for a seven year old and we hope that the addition of first time cheekpieces could show us some improvement today. Davy Russell rides. 

SHATTERED LOVE and THE STORYTELLER both represent us in the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase. Its a competitive race with only a small field of 5 and whilst Min certainly looks the horse to beat we wouldn’t rule out either of our runners, especially Shattered Love as she carries bottom weight due to her mares allowance. 

MITCHOUKA bids to get his first chase win under his belt in the Gain Support Loais GAA Beginners Chase. He was unlucky when falling on his chase debut and struggled  in the Buck House Novice Chase at Punchestown last time out but we’ve been schooling him plenty at home and hopefully he’ll go close today. Jack Kennedy rides. 

Our last runner at Punchestown is SANTANA PLESSIS in the Old House, Kill (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race. This is only his second career start and he surprised us all when finishing 3rd in the Land Rover bumper at the Punchestown Festival in April. If he runs as well today as he did then he will definitely take some beating. Jamie Codd rides. 

By |2018-12-09T10:27:53+00:00December 9th, 2018|

Saturday 8th December

Saturday 8th December 

We have 11 runners today in Navan.  

ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU runs in the Kells Maiden Hurdle over 2m. He ran well last day out in Thurlas where he finished 3rd. He was unlucky not to get his head in front after being bet by half a length. Davy Russell takes the ride. 

CORNKILL ROSE runs in the Club Active Gym  Mares Maiden Hurdle over 2m 4f. She makes her debut over hurdles today, she struggled in her bumpers but should be better over an obstacle. Conor Brassil is on board today and claims 5 lbs so we are hoping for a good run from her today. 

SWINGBRIDGE runs in the John Lynch Carpets Handicap Hurdleover 2m. He is one that was slightly disappointing last day out at Navan in the Troytown Chase. We are hoping that the drop back in trip and reverting him back to hurdles could see a bit of his old spark come back. Davy Russell is booked to ride. ASKARI also runs in this. He was 2nd in Thurles last day out and the blinkers have really helped get the best out of him. We have booked Kevin Brogan to ride today and he claims a handy 7 lbs. 

BEN DUNDEE runs in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Klairon Davis Novice Steeplechase over 2m.  He was impressive last day out to win in Punchestown. He has been in good form at home and we are hoping for another good run out of him today however he does drop back in trip.  Bryan Cooper is booked to ride. HARDLINE also runs in this. He was also impressive last day out in Punchestown to finish in 2nd place behind Voix Du Reve and won his debut over fences the time before that. The trip should suit him and he is in safe hands with Davy Russell on board. 

GUN DIGGER runs in the Mervynn Gray Construction Beginners Steeplechase over 2m 4f. He ran a great race last day out in Gowran to finish 3rd on his chase debut and should finish in the placings here today all being well. Davy Russell rides today.  

BURREN LIFE runs in the Foxrock Handicap Steeplechase over 2m 4f. He finished 4th in his last race in Gowran. Today he makes his debut in handicap company and we could well see him finish in the placings today Davy Russell takes the ride. LAMB OR COD also runs in this. This will be his debut for the yard since joining us from Philip Hobbs. His last win was back in December 2016 and we are hoping that he can show some of his spark back today. Andrew Ring is booked to ride.  

THE VERY MAN runs in the Hotel Park In St Johann Tirol Austria Flat Race over 2m. This is the point to point winner’s debut run on the track and he could be an exciting future prospect. Lisa O’ Neill takes the ride. We also run BIGBADANDBEAUTIFUL also runs in this. She is an unraced filly by Big Bad Bob and we are looking forward to seeing her on the track. Jamie Codd rides. 

Across the water in Aintree we have three runners. 

DON POLI and NOBLE ENDEAVOR both represent us in the Beecher Handicap Chase which is a Grade 3 contest run over national fences. It is great to see Don Poli back on the track after having not seeing him run since February 2017. He’s a talented horse who will love the distance and we are hoping for a big run from today however after such a long time off he may need this. Jack Kennedy rides. Noble Endevour has also been off the track for a long period of time. Once again he may benefit from the run but should enjoy the trip. Keith Donoghue rides.  

In the Betway Fillies Juvenile Hurdle SMILING ELIZA takes her chances. This is her first run in a listed contest but shes been a great little horse on the flat and over hurdles for connections this season. We are hopeful she will finish in the placing with Jack Kennedy aboard. 

By |2018-12-08T09:12:31+00:00December 8th, 2018|

WINTER & SUMMER CLUB DAYS 2018/19

Winter & Summer Club Days 2018/2018/19

As part of our series of official ‘ Gordon Elliot Racing Club Events we will be running a series of  Winter & Summer Club Days.   Each member is welcome to attend regular club days and we encourage members to bring family and friends to these events.

The stable visits are an excellent time to speak with Gordon and his team to experience the behind-the-scenes action of a working yard and meet the clubs horses and  stable stars such as Tiger Roll, Samcro and many more!

Because we really put an emphasis on the members experience we aim to host numerous racecourse club events throughout the year at venues such as Navan, Fairyhouse, Leopardstown,Punchestown, Aintree, Cheltenham and many more. 

The first on our series of events is at Cullentra House Stables and Punchestown Races on Saturday 17th November 2018.  

This event is exclusive to Gordon Racing Club members. Please RSVP via email at admin@gordonelliottracingclub.com or the the events section on the private club members App. 

The Punchestown Winter Festival has become a real favourite with jump racing fans.

We have been liaising with Punchestown who have very kindly agreed to reserve us their Kildare Hunt private suite. This is exclusively for use by GERC members. There will be a cost of €17.50 but this entitles you to admission, a racecard and pen and finger food. The Kildare Hunt room is located close to the parade ring and there will be a cash bar.

Unfortunately we cannot promise that there will be a club horse running on the day but with this being day 1 of Punchestown’s 2 day winter festival there will certainly be some high class action to watch. Punchestown are going to let me know what the best way of organising payment – be it that members can pay on arrival or that we arrange prior to Saturday – We will update as soon as we have heard back.

On arrival to the yard if the gate is not open please press the intercom to avoid traffic backing up onto the road – this calls the office and we will open the gate! Please drive as far down the yard as possible and park from the bottom of the car park up – we have 2 car parks but the staff alone fill one so we may need people to double park – please park where you can but do not block any barn entrances!

Club scarves and beanies will be available to purchase on the day. We are selling them at almost cost price however any profit made on will go direct to the Injured Jockeys Fund!

9am sharp – Arrival, members congregate in the main yard.

9.15am – We head down to the gallops to watch the GERC horses in action.
10am – Back into the yard for a tour and swimming demonstration.
10.30am Tea/coffee
11am – Photo op with the GERC horses.
11.30am – Take a walk around the yard at your leisure.
12pm – Close

Afterrnoon – Kildare Suite Punchestown Races

To RSVP please just reply via Club App/email with your name, number of guests and how many tickets you would like to purchase for hospitality at Punchestown Races.

One guest per member (not including children who are more than welcome) unless agreed with us via email prior to the event.

Heading straight down to the gallops to watch all the GERC horses, among others on the gallops, we will then head back up to the yard for a yard tour followed by tea/coffee.

 

By |2018-10-27T11:08:02+00:00October 23rd, 2018|

AINTREE NEXT FOR SMILING ELIZA AFTER PUNCHESTOWN WIN

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?

 

By |2018-10-23T15:05:30+00:00October 23rd, 2018|

SMILING ELIZA WINS AT DOWN ROYAL

The last night of summer brought a well deserved first win over hurdles for Smiling Eliza at Down Royal and I was delighted to witness my first win for GERC.

The going was still good to firm even though we’ve had quite a lot of rain recently. She was close to an evens favourite and looking down the card the only threat looked like being the other Elliott runner under Davy Russell. Eliza had Jack Kennedy onboard and when I watched the race back again it confirmed what I thought when watching it live – he gave her some ride. The start was delayed as Davy Russell’s horse had some sort of problem and he had to make his way from where they come out from the paddock up to the top of the hill at the start of the home straight to join the others. When they finally went off there was drama almost immediately with a faller at the first. Thankfully Eliza was ahead of it as Jack had her up in about 3rd or 4th where she likes to be. I was stood at the finish line and as they came past me the first time and round the corner to go to the next, Eliza pulled hard left but Jack got her back under control very quickly. I thought his saddle might have slipped or something but she seemed to be ok. He had her pretty handy the whole way round and eased out of some more trouble when a few horses bumped into each other with one taking out the rail. At the top of the hill for the final time, Jack eased her into the lead. She was still on the bridle and cruising with 2 to jump as she moved several lengths clear. She flattened the 2nd last but it didn’t knock her out of her stride, Jack popped her over the last and she powered up the hill to where I was stood celebrating at the finish line. What a fantastic feeling to see a club winner and great to see Eliza and Jack do it in such style.

I’ve uploaded a video below of before, during and after the race. I had a pass into the owners bar and was in the parade ring before to hear what Gordon had to say to Jack. There was probably about 10 from the club there to celebrate in the winners enclosure and the winners bar after. This is what it’s all about! It took a while but it was worth it and hopefully there is more to come from Smiling Eliza but not sure how she’ll go when the ground inevitably gets softer.

I also forgot to mention that Dawerann was sold at Ascot sales and will go pointing in England. All the best to Dawerann.
Ciaran Hanley
Club Member
By |2018-09-23T01:08:20+00:00September 23rd, 2018|
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