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Abacadabras gets his time to shine in Future Champions Novice Hurdle

Abacadabras and Jack Kennedy with groom Katie Young after the Future Champions Novice Hurdle
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Envoi Allen didn’t have to leave his box this Christmas but his reputation grew on Saturday after Abacadabras paid a compliment to his stablemate by running out an easy winner of the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. 

Elliott was hardly cock-a-hoop afterwards as the task was made a lot easier by the fact that Blue Sari, last year’s Champion Bumper runner-up and the main market rival to Abacadabras, ran no sort of race and trailed home last of the four runners.

That left Abacadabras to coast into contention rounding the home bend, getting to the front at the back of the last, but the win wasn’t achieved without Jack Kennedy getting somewhat serious. 

Elliott was quick to put that down to Abacadabras being babyish rather than anything else, and noted the fact that the Gigginstown-owned novice has history for not doing a lot when he gets to the front in his races.

"Jack said that when he got to the front he didn’t do a stroke again. He was the exact same with Lisa O’Neill when he won a bumper at Galway earlier in his career," said Elliott.

"You’d imagine coming back to the Deloitte could be the way to go. If I was to say anything, I’d say a bit of better ground would probably suit him more because he doesn’t really bend his knee much – he just flicks across the top of it," he added.

Questions inevitably turned to Envoi Allen, given Abacadabras got to within a little over a length of his vaunted stablemate in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, and what implications the win had for future plans. The answer? Not a lot. 

"Cheltenham is a long way away but I know what race [the Supreme Novices' Hurdle] this lad will be going for anyway and Envoi Allen runs at Naas next week," came the response from the trainer. 

The majority of bookmakers took the view that in Abacadbras, Elliott is dealing with one of the fastest novice hurdlers to ever walk through the gates at Cullentra House, by slashing his odds for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle to 7-2.

Elliott saw nothing in the performance to suggest anything different and, apart from one or two minor jumping errors, declared himself a happy man.

Abacadabras and Jack Kennedy are well on top at the line

He concluded: "We knew he has pace and we rode him for it. It's nice to get a winner at Leopardstown – we hit the crossbar a couple of times yesterday so it's nice to get one today."

On the mistake Abacadabras made at the third-last, Elliott added: "The hurdles were coming back at him and I'd say what happened down the back straight is that one of them flicked back at him – he didn't actually make that bad a mistake. 

"He got underneath the last a bit as well, but he’s professional enough and I’m happy with him. He’s a grand horse, he's a gentleman and he’s improving the whole time and getting stronger. He’ll probably have one more run and then it’ll be Cheltenham, all being well.”

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I’d say a bit of better ground would probably suit him more because he doesn’t really bend his knee much – he just flicks across the top of it
E.W. Terms