Elliott in the money with sensational six winners at Punchestown
Gordon Elliott was the envy of racing and toast of punters as he posted six winners at Punchestown on a glorious day for the yard.
It did not officially match his six-timer at Navan on Troytown day last November, as one of the winners on Thursday, Pallasator, was in a charity race.
But it was perhaps even better for Elliott and three friends who backed all six in a Lucky 63 that was said to have won them all around €10,000 each.
The highlight of the six wins, at a combined 112-1 at SP, came when Death Duty extended his unbeaten record over fences to two with a commanding win in the Grade 3 Buck House Novices Chase under Davy Russell.
Elliott is famously understated in public about his horses, and really only two horses have ever been described in glowing terms by the trainer. Death Duty is one. The other was Don Cossack.
Only five turned out for the contest, but Death Duty broke the resolution of useful second season novice Woodland Opera before the second-last and careered away for an 11-length victory over the same owner's Tout Est Permis.
"I have always thought the world of this horse. Last year I was of the opinion that he wanted three miles, but I'd say I might have been wrong to be honest. But he wasn't right at Cheltenham so we put a line through last year," said Elliott.
He added: "He was bought to be a chaser and chasing was always going to be his game. He's a horse to look forward to. I'd say that we'll keep him to two and a half or two and three-quarter miles and that will give us loads of options.
"He was good over his fences, and I'd say going a gear faster and the competitive race probably suited him better. You'd have to be delighted with him and I'd imagine the Drinmore will be next for him. I'd say we'll go straight there."
Neptune Novices’ Hurdle favourite Samcro was first to throw his hat into the ring with a faultless hurdling debut under Jack Kennedy.
Elliott won this maiden hurdle a year ago with subsequent Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Labaik, but arguably this son of Germany is a more exciting prospect. He showed a very impressive turn of foot and a fine display of jumping in sprinting clear for a 15-length success.
Elliott was back in more understated mode, commenting: "He's a nice horse. Jack said it was pretty straightforward and he did no more than he would at home in a gallop. He could step up in trip but he has the pace for two miles. We think a lot of him and it's hard to know how good he is."
Ben Dundee, who was having his first start for the trainer, put in an impeccable performance under Davy Russell in the 2m4f handicap hurdle, while Jamie Codd and Lisa O'Neill played their parts in the final two contests, steering King's Song and Felix Desjy to comfortable wins.
After the last, Elliott said: “We were having breakfast this morning and Simon McGonagle my head man, Mouse [O’Ryan] and Tom Howley said they were doing a Lucky 63, so I put some money in and the four of us did it! We are going to the Breeders' Cup together so it will help pay for that trip, we might even go first class!”
All the winners on Thursday came from County Meath stables, with two for Noel Meade.
Thought for the day
Gordon Elliott's amazing day amid a great run of form is in contrast to Willie Mullins who has not been as hot as normal lately.