Fridaynightlights can strike again for trainer Gordon Elliott at Kilbeggan
GORDON Elliott is a firm believer in the ‘little fish are sweet’ approach and goes into the final week of the National Hunt season with that maxim firmly set in his mind as he continues his battle with Willies Mullins for the trainers’ title.
Tonight at Kilbeggan the quest shows no sign of dilution when it comes to Elliott using all the firepower at his disposal to keep Mullins at bay.
Mullins saddles just two runners, Kolumbus and New Kid In Town, while Elliott sends 14 to the Westmeath track with multiple runners in most races.
He runs three in the 80-109 two-mile handicap hurdle, which is confined to riders that have not ridden more than 10 winners between May 10 2016 and last Sunday.
His Fridaynightlights goes for his second win in less than a week here and, even after going up 10lb for that Fairyhouse success, will still take a deal of beating in this modest company.
The five-year-old was making his first appearance for Elliott last Sunday and came with a strong run to land a competitive novice handicap.
There are plenty of worthy adversaries at this level, not least the mares L’Attesa, who struck at Down Royal on St Patrick’s Day, Rock On Rosie and Bashful Beauty.
The opening two-mile-three-furlong maiden hurdle should also go to Elliott through the medium of Soul Kaliber, a dozen lengths in front of the Mullins runner Kolumbus when the pair finished fourth and sixth behind Jimmy Breekie in a Navan maiden three weeks ago.
That was on bad ground and tonight’s surface will be a deal livelier. But Soul Kaliber is 8lb better off here and has to be the favoured candidate now.
In the four- and five-year-old maiden Elliott runs a pair, Icario (Bryan Cooper) and A Shin Impala (Jack Kennedy). Both have proved disappointing, with Icario a beaten favourite at Downpatrick and Navan on either side of his fall in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham.
Both are unstable betting propositions although they have ability. I’d rather take a chance with Creative Talent, back now for a spring campaign after avoiding the winter ground.
Henry de Bromhead should have high hopes for Show And Go in the Sean Hughes Memorial Handicap Chase. A model of consistency this campaign, he is expected to be much happier back over fences after failing to capitalise on a comparatively lenient hurdling figure at Tramore.
Ontopoftheworld, Stonehall Jack and Dawerann might be the ones to give him most to think about.
Of those with official ratings in the Mares Beginners Chase, Elliott’s Isabella Liberty has the highest mark but she was behind Leaders Questions when Robert Tyner’s charge was second in a Limerick handicap recently and will do well to reverse the form. Elliott’s other runner Monbeg Rose and Tb Broke Her are others of similar ability.
Her stablemate Coeur De Beauchene has been costly to follow but is still the one to beat in the bumper under Lisa O’Neill.
Tidjani and Dantess are potential dangers, while Prince Garyantle attempts to supplement his recent all-the-way Tramore success in the Mullingar Handicap Hurdle against Scenic Star and maybe Golden Silence.
5.00 Soul Kaliber (Nap)
5.35 Creative Talent (Dbl)
6.35 Prince Garyantle
7.05 Leaders Questions
7.35 Show And Go
8.05 Coeur De Beauchens
6.05 Bashful Beauty
6.35 Scenic Star
7.05 Isabella Liberty