New dawn for Delta as Elliott plots path to Cheltenham
Last Updated: 04/12/18 2:31pm
Delta Work impressed Gordon Elliott in his gutsy Drinmore Novice Chase victory - and may step up in trip after his Grade One success over two and a half miles.
The five-year-old overcame a mistake at the final fence to beat Le Richebourg by half a length at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
Delta Work stayed further over the smaller obstacles, as he showed to the best effect when winning the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle over three miles for Elliott at last season's Cheltenham Festival.
He is around an 8-1 shot for the RSA Chase there in March.
"He was good to come back and win after the mistake he made at the last," said Elliott.
"He's a nice horse and he won over three miles in Cheltenham, so we know he's going to stay."
Delta Work had won at Down Royal last month when he accounted for stablemate Ben Dundee, who is now likely to run at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting.
"He was only a length behind Delta Work at Down Royal and then went on to win at Punchestown," said Elliott.
"Chris Jones (owner) has a big involvement in Leopardstown, so I'd imagine he'll go there at Christmas."
Chief Justice beat Coeur Sublime by a short head to give Elliott a one-two in the Grade Three juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse.
The County Meath trainer senses the latter could be the better prospect for the future.
"They are two nice juveniles, and I'm lucky to have them. I think on another day the second horse would win, with more of a test and a bit softer ground," he said.
"Long term, Coeur Sublime could be the pick of the two horses. He won a Flat maiden at Navan, so you know he's going to stay."
Elliott was pleased with last season's Triumph Hurdle hero Farclas, who was sixth behind impressive stable companion Apple's Jade in the Hatton's Grace on Sunday after 219 days off the track.
"He's had a wind operation, and (jockey) Davy (Russell) said he blew up three times," said Elliott.
"He'll come on a lot from it. It's hard to place those four-year-olds in their second season - but he has to mix it with the big boys, and it's going to be tough this year."
Elliott is not rushing Cracking Smart back into action after surgery and will keep the six-year-old to hurdles for this season.
"He had an operation for kissing spines, and that's why he hasn't been out for a while," he said.
"I think he's a very good horse. But it's getting on a bit in the season, and I might just keep him to hurdles."
In contrast, Elliott is keen to get Champagne Classic on the course, but is being frustrated by the lack of rain.
The seven-year-old has not run since winning at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals in the spring of 2017.
"I'm waiting on a bit of rain to run him. He's been entered for the last three weeks," he said.
"He won a Grade One on his last run and he won at the Cheltenham Festival. He doesn't show us anything at home, but he's an impressive horse when he goes to the track."
Elliott is excited at his crop of current four-year-olds, and picked out Fury Road and Vision D'Honneur as newcomers to watch.
"I have a lot of good bumper horses this year, a lot of good four-year-olds," he added.
"We like Fury Road, and Vision D'Honneur is a nice horse to start off in a maiden hurdle - and worked very well in Tipperary last week."