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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

'There is no point in thinking about the championship'

Trainer reflects after magnificent Navan six-timer

Gordon Elliott: notched up a six-timer at Navan on Sunday
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It was a Monday afternoon with a difference for Gordon Elliott's staff yesterday as they celebrated the yard's fantastic six-timer at Navan on Sunday when Elliott-trained horses landed all but one of the races on the card.

Elliott explained: "We decided to give the staff a half-day and took them off to celebrate what was an unbelievable day for us all at Navan. They deserved a celebration as they work very hard and play a huge part in the success we've been having."

The table-topping trainer has sent out 114 winners in Ireland this season and is over €500,000 ahead of defending champion Willie Mullins in the title race. However, Elliott is adamant that the possibility of winning the championship is not occupying his mind.

He said: "I've said it before and I'm saying it again. There is no point in thinking about the championship. Our job is to train as many winners as we can for our owners and do the very best we can. We'll see what happens but Willie (Mullins) is favourite and deserves to be."

Elliott expects to be represented in the three Grade 1 events on Sunday's Bar-One Racing-sponsored card at Fairyhouse.

He said: "We won't be finalising plans until later in the week but I expect to have runners in the three big races. Dedigout will probably run in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle while Labaik and Bilko are intended runners in the Royal Bond Novice."

Elliott has sent out three winners of the 2m4f Drinmore Novice Chase – Jessies Dream (2010), Don Cossack (2013) and the ill-fated No More Heroes a year ago – and he could be three-handed in Sunday's renewal. "The way it's looking we'll probably run Diamond King, A Toi Phil and Lieutenant Colonel in the Drinmore," Elliott said.

Diamond King, winner of the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in March, won by 14 lengths on his chasing debut at Galway last month while A Toi Phil is two from two over fences having followed up his win at Down Royal by landing the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Chase at Punchestown nine days ago.

Lieutenant Colonel, whose win in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle two years ago was one of two Grade 1 victories he achieved when trained by Sandra Hughes, has won one of his three starts over fences.

Further to his weekend success, Elliott had encouraging news regarding stable star Don Cossack, winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March before suffering a leg injury days before he was due to run in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

He said: "Don Cossack has been cantering for the past month and everything is good with him. His legs are fine but it is still very much a case of taking one day at a time."

While sending out six winners on the same card was a first for Elliott, he did train seven winners on the one day last year – July 2 – when The Absent Mare, Broughtons Bandit, Russian Regent and Bank Bonus won at Perth and Mustadrik, Be Seeing You and Moonmeister were successful at Bellewstown.

Don Cossack has been cantering for the past month and everything is good with him. His legs are fine but it is still very much a case of taking one day at a time

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