Elliott seeking first win in Clonmel's biggest chase of the season
Clonmel Oil Chase (Grade 2) | 2m4½f | 4yo+ | ATR
Gigginstown House Stud dominate Thursday's renewal of Clonmel's biggest chase of the year, with four of the six runners representing Ireland's champion owner.
Gigginstown seek a fourth win in the race, which they last secured with Road To Riches two years ago.
Gordon Elliott supplies two of the Gigginstown runners – A Toi Phil, a three-time winner at this level over fences, and Tiger Roll, who won the Munster National and the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last season – as he bids to win the event for the first time.
Elliott said: "A Toi Phil has been kept busy but he's in good form and if he runs to his best he'll have a decent chance.
"The trip will be on the short side for Tiger Roll but there aren't many races to run him in and we decided to let him take his chance."
"He looks up against it at the weights and we're just hoping he might earn a bit of prize-money," added the trainer.
Galway Plate winner Balko Des Flos and Alpha Des Obeaux complete the Gigginstown quartet.
Balko Des Flos missed an engagement at Down Royal this month and trainer Henry de Bromhead, who is also represented by Thyestes Chase winner Champagne West, said: "Balko Des Flos seems fine again and we're looking forward to a good run.
"Champagne West will be having his first run of the season. He's been in good form at home and is ready to start."
Mouse Morris, trainer of Alpha Des Obeaux, said: "We've been happy with his two runs this season and he's in very good form."
A star is reborn
Also at Clonmel, Flemenstar, a multiple Grade 1 winner over fences, runs over hurdles for the first time since April 2011 in the Prior Park Service Station Hurdle (3.25).
The 12-year-old had only two runs last season, starting at 100-1 in the Punchestown Gold Cup won by Sizing John and finishing fifth of the six runners.
Andrew Lynch, who has ridden the Anthony Curran-trained veteran to all of his ten wins, said: "I've ridden Flemenstar recently and he's in good form. It's a long time since he ran over hurdles, so it will almost be something new for him.
"It should do him good before any plans are made for the future."
Blowing Obeaux's trumpet
Dinaria Des Obeaux, who made a successful debut over fences at Wexford last month, takes on stronger opposition at Clonmel in the Listed TA Morris Memorial Mares Chase (2.50).
Her trainer Gordon Elliott said: "She came out of her Wexford win well and as a four-year-old she gets all the allowances. She has only 9st 11lb to carry and that will be a help."
He added: "It looks a better race than she won at Wexford but we're happy with her. She's in good order."
Match race at Taunton
After a couple of two-runner races at Kempton on Monday, it’s Taunton’s turn on Thursday.
The Setsquare Recruitment Novices’ Chase (1.05) – with £12,000 in total prize-money the joint-most valuable race at the meeting – had been due to feature in the middle of the card but after just Ridgeway Flyer and Never Learn were declared, the track has brought it forward to open proceedings.
The Colin Tizzard-trained Never Learn fell at the second when favourite on his first run over fences at Wincanton last month, while the Paul Nicholls-trained Ridgeway Flyer, who was with Harry Fry last term, is one from one over fences.
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