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Angry Elliott slams Thurles over shortage of stable accommodation

Gordon Elliott: "The horses need to come first, but my horses that are running later today are still out in the lorry. It's not good enough."
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Gordon Elliott labelled the stable yard at Thurles “not good enough” as he fumed over a lack of accommodation for runners at the track on Thursday.

Elliott revealed Thurles were 31 stables short for their opening fixture of the season, meaning many horses were denied access to the racetrack until later in the day, instead having to wait in lorries.

Horses were forced to stay in the car park for longer than what would be normal on the day of a race, which Elliott took exception to.

Speaking after sending out Vengeful to win on his stable debut in the two-mile maiden hurdle, he said on Thursday: “They [Thurles] are 31 stables short today and, in this day and age, I don’t think it’s good enough.

“The horses need to come first, but my horses that are running later are still out in the lorry. I’m not making this about me either as there’s loads of other trainers out there in the same position.

“We go on about health and safety and this and that, and yet you turn up to the races and there isn’t even a stable for every horse. A stable is the least you expect when you go racing and I don’t think it’s good enough.”

Rare occurrence

Many courses use temporary stables to accommodate an overflow of horses on the day of a race meeting – Bellewstown being the most obvious example.

Thurles, the only privately-owned course in Ireland and situated in County Tipperary, countered that the unusually high field sizes contributed to the shortage.

Speaking on behalf of the track, Riona Molony, mother of the manager, Kate, said: “We obliged the trainers by having a divide on the card which is why there’s a shortage of stables.

She added: “We wouldn’t have had enough time to put in temporary facilities and we’d also have nowhere to put them.

"We have an above-average number of runners today and it's a one-off as far as we're concerned. It’s not something that happens here normally.”

Born to jump a fence

Robbie Power offered Alan Potts a timely reminder as to why he is widely regarded as one of the best riders over a fence with a brilliant display aboard the owner’s Born To Size in the opening beginners’ chase.

Born To Size, trained by Liam Burke, is a horse with plenty of ability but he counters that by being a difficult ride. However, the five-year-old looked like a model professional on his chasing debut under Power, who was quick to praise the efforts of the trainer and his team.

Power said: “He's a bit highly strung but Liam [Burke] always felt that fences would help him settle a bit better. Liam and Richie Harding have done a fantastic job with him and he paid a lot more attention to his fences. He was too free and never really paid attention over hurdles.”

Mullinavat makes it look easy

The prize for the most impressive winner of the day went to the Henry de Bromhead-trained Mullinavat, who won as a long odds-on shot should in the first division of the 2m handicap hurdle.

Better known as a chaser, Mullinavat made a mockery of his lenient hurdles rating at Tramore recently, and this success – his third on the bounce – suggested he should be up to winning more races over hurdles.


Thought for the day
There was a most unsatisfactory start to the second division of the handicap hurdle when Jessicor failed to jump off on terms under jockey Roger Loughran. The stewards did look into the matter but were satisfied a fair start had taken place and took no further action.

Results and analysis

We obliged the trainers by having a divide on the card which is why there’s a shortage of stables
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