The rise of Gordon Elliott has been one of the biggest stories in all of National Hunt racing in the last couple of decades.
Starting from right at the bottom of the training ranks, he announced his intentions saddling Silver Birch to win the Grand National at Aintree in 2007, at which point he had not trained a single winner in Ireland.
He quickly showed that beginner’s luck played no role in that success, as his relentless ambition saw him soon emerge as the biggest challenger to the dominance of Willie Mullins. Indeed, he made Mullins pull out all the stops in the trainers’ championship in both 2016/17 and 2017/18, training a remarkable 210 winners in Ireland in the latter campaign.
While he came up just short of Mullins in the championship on those occasions, he did have the satisfaction of being crowned the leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival in both 2017 and 2018. Another highly notable feat of Elliott’s was his training of Tiger Roll to become the first horse since Red Rum to win two Grand Nationals.
Gigginstown House Stud’s announcement in May 2019 that they would not be buying new horses and gradually phasing out their involvement in National Hunt racing was seen as a major blow to Elliott, but he has rallied in response, expanding his ownership base in a very significant way. The result of this is that many of the very best prospects from Irish point-to-points in the last year have been bought to join Elliott.
With Elliott looking to have a very strong team for the season ahead, he spoke to attheraces.com’s Kevin Blake to tell us about their prospects.