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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|


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+01:00October 23rd, 2018|


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+01:00October 23rd, 2018|