Delta Work to lead Elliott’s Aintree campaign.
Gordon Elliott appears to be most interested in Delta Work, the horse that thwarted Tiger Roll’s fairytale farewell at Cheltenham last season. Elliott is attempting to win the Randox Grand National for the fourth time.
The 10-year-old will be heading to Liverpool with experience gained this season after finishing third to Noble Yeats in the cross-country race in April. He narrowly lost to his stablemate and ended up being the party pooper.
He ran a good cross-country race in January, but he had a bad run over hurdles last time out at Navan, finishing sixth to Blazing Khal. He has been given 11st 4lb.
“This has been the plan all season. He has a nice weight for the race and I’m happy with that,” said Elliott.
“We just switched him back to hurdles on his last start to sharpen him up a bit as he had gone a little bit rusty. It was a race we had run Tiger Roll in before he went to Cheltenham and then on to Aintree.
“I thought he ran very well in the National last season behind Noble Yeats. He got a little bit far back early on and he had lots to do. Having had that experience over the fences, we go back there with plenty of confidence and we are looking forward to it.”
Coko Beach, who finished 11th in a Grand National Trial last week, came back to form, but the handicapper had time to reevaluate the winner of that race this year, which was unfortunate for him.
Elliott said: “It was a great run to win the Grand National Trial at Punchestown on Sunday. He jumps great and he enjoyed the ground. He will definitely run in the race.
“I thought it was a good run in the race last year when he finished eighth and he is another we are looking forward to taking back over again.”
Even though Galvin, who weighs 11st 11lb, hasn’t been at his best this season, he still ranks near the top of the weight class.
“He started off the season very well winning a Grade Three at Punchestown but his form has just tapered off a bit. He has just had a little procedure done on his back and he is back working well,” said Elliott.
“The plan is to run him in the cross-country race at Cheltenham then on the National. We sort of thought last season that he could be one for the National as we thought he was probably just lacking a gear for races like the Gold Cup and those sort of Grade One races.
“He seems in good form and we are looking forward to running him in the National. I think he will be fine over the fences.”
Elliott believes that Conflated, who weighs 11st 12lb and is joint top-weight with Any Second Now and Hewick, may be more one for next year because the Gold Cup is his primary goal this season.
“He will go to Cheltenham first for the Gold Cup and we will see from there whether he will be one for the Grand National this season or next season,” said Elliott.
“He would be a very classy horse to have in the race. I could see him being a horse for the National, but it might be a year too early to run him in the race.”
Fury Road, who is headed for the Ryanair Chase and weighs 11st 6lb, is another horse that is unlikely to run.
“He will probably be a doubtful runner I would say at the moment. We will probably just go for the Ryanair and see after that,” said Elliott.
Pencilfulloflead, who weighed 10st 12lb and finished third in the Thyestes the previous time out, is still an option.
“He is a good horse and has a lovely weight on his back. He ran very well in the Thyestes the last day. He is good now, but we just had a few issues with him early on,” said Elliott.
“He is sound now and is in good form. He is on the right side of the 11st mark and is exactly in the sort of place where we want to be in the race. He should enjoy a test like this.”
Another contender is Farclas (10st 10lb), who will finish fifth in 2021 at the age of seven.
Elliott said: “He ran well in the race in 2021 when he finished fifth. The plan was to go there again last year but he got a little setback. He has a lovely weight on his back and all being well, he will go back there this year.”
Elliott thought Escaria Ten (10st 10lb), who finished ninth last year, had a good weight, but he didn’t make the trip this year. Dunboyne, who finished second in the Thyestes, would be an ideal type for the race, but he only has 10st, so he might not make it.
Battleoverdoyen and Death Duty might also try, but Elliott thinks that Ash Tree Meadow would be better off waiting until next year, while Defi Bleu, Gevrey, Milan Native, Punitive, Fakiera, and Mortal probably won’t make it.
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