Delta Work aiming to extend O’Leary’s success in Down Royal festival feature
Elliott-trained star just one of five Gigginstown entries for first Grade One of the season
Trainer Gordon Elliott (left) with jockey Jack Kennedy after Delta Work’s victory in the the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last February. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Delta Work is favourite to win the first Grade One of the National Hunt season and continue Michael O’Leary’s astonishing run of success in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Champion Chase.
The Ryanair boss’s Gigginstown Stud team have won the €125,000 feature for seven years running and could tackle the Down Royal festival feature in strength once again. Five of the 11 entries left in the race after Tuesday’s forfeit stage carry Gigginstown’s famous maroon colours, although Delta Work appears to be the clear number one.
The Gordon Elliott-trained star flopped in the contest a year ago but went on to win both the Savills Chase and the Irish Gold Cup last season.
He has been installed a general 7-4 favourite ahead of his new stable companion Presenting Percy. He is due to make a first start for Elliott after being moved from previous trainer Pat Kelly.
Henry de Bromhead’s Chris’s Dream is also prominent in ante-post betting.
Just over a year after O’Leary announced his plan to phase down his involvement in racing, Gigginstown’s influence is still stamped all over Saturday’s action.
Samcro is likely to prove a star attraction in the Grade Two Lough Construction Chase, but also among the seven potential contenders are two other top-flight winners, Notebook and Battleoverdoyen.
Jack Kennedy is set to be reunited with both Samcro and Delta Work after recovering from a fractured collarbone suffered just over a fortnight ago in time to ride at Clonmel on Thursday.
Kennedy is booked for two rides at Clonmel and has a number of exciting rides to look forward to for Gordon Elliott when Down Royal begins on Friday.
The 22-year-old rider fractured his left collarbone in a fall at Limerick earlier this month, the latest in a series of injuries for the Kerry man.
He was out of action between February and September due to a broken leg suffered in the race after guiding Delta Work to Irish Gold Cup glory at the Dublin Racing Festival.
It meant Kennedy missed out on Samcro’s dramatic Cheltenham festival success in the Marsh Chase in March.