Elliott and Kennedy lodge appeals over ‘non-trier’ penalties
Elliot says unbeaten Samcro will wait for Royal Bond hurdle at Fairyhouse
Elliott, the Gold Cup and Grand National winner who was pipped at the post by Willie Mullins in a memorable struggle for the trainer’s title last season, was fined €2,000 after the Kennedy-ridden Suitor finished third to Ten Ten in a maiden hurdle.
At a subsequent running and riding inquiry the stewards decided there had been a breach of Rule 212 which relates to “non-triers”. As well as Elliott’s fine, they banned Suitor from racing for 42 days and suspended Kennedy for five days.
Elliott was in California where he supervised Beckford’s run in Friday night’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf race. However, on Monday he expressed his unhappiness with the stewards’ decision. “I am 100 per cent definitely appealing. I was away and I don’t want to say too much. But I’ve no interest in stopping horses. I want to be champion trainer. It’s not stopping horses I want to be doing.”
The ex-Brian Ellison-trained Suitor was having his first start for Elliott at the weekend and his first start over jumps.
Kennedy told the inquiry the horse jumped sketchily early and was further back then he wanted, was outside on the heavier ground and was flat out all the way before running on in the straight past beaten horses under a hands and heels ride.
Elliott’s representative at the track told the inquiry he was satisfied with Kennedy’s ride. A date for an appeal hearing has yet to be set.
Later on that Down Royal card Kennedy and Elliott combined to land the featured Grade One JNwine Champion Chase with Outlander for Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary.
Elliott’s powerful team is gearing up for the winter campaign, and the trainer confirmed he was saying goodbye to his star two-year-old Beckford who finished fifth in his final start for the Meath trainer at the Breeders’ Cup.
“He is going to go to Maurice O’Regan’s [owner] farm for a break. I’m not sure who he will go to afterwards, but he is going to stay in America,” Elliott said. “He ran a very good race on Friday, and was probably unlucky not to be placed.”
Beckford was the leading light among a small group of two-year-olds the top National Hunt trainer conditioned in 2017. He won the first two of his six starts, including the Railway Stakes. He subsequently finished runner up at Group One level in both the Phoenix and National Stakes.
Elliott’s great young hope among the National Hunt ranks appears to be the unbeaten Samcro, described recently by top jockey Davy Russell as being “as good a horse as we’ll ever see”.
Even though the horse was reportedly bought by Michael O’Leary for almost €380,000. Samcro has clearly made an impression on Russell, who has ridden him in some of his home work and described him as “probably the cheapest horse that will ever be bought”.
The triple bumper winner won at Punchestown on his jumping debut last month, but will skip this Sunday’s Grade Three For Auction Hurdle at Navan.
“He’ll probably go to Fairyhouse for the Royal Bond,” Elliott said on Monday. “He’s a big horse and a little time between his races will be no harm to him.”
However, Elliott did not rule out his star mare Apple’s Jade returning to action this weekend in the Lismullen Hurdle. “She’s in the Fighting Fifth [Newcastle on December 2nd] but she’s ready to start off, and might run in that race in Navan at the weekend.”
The Longwood-based trainer sends seven runners to Fairyhouse on Tuesday, and it’s another triple bumper winner Monbeg Worldwide who will command most attention on his hurdling debut.
Fairyhouse’s inner course may not be an ideal circuit for a horse who shapes as though stamina is his forte but it will be a surprise if he is unable to cope with this opposition.
The inner track might also be no help to Poormans Hill’s chances of completing a remarkable five-in-a-row since joining Elliott after Galway. The six-year-old has a 4lb penalty for his win at Down Royal on Saturday, but Katie O’Farrell claims 7lb.
Elliott is also likely to fancy his Fairyhouse chances with The Storyteller and Mitchouka, while Artic Pearl can defy an 8lb penalty for winning at Punchestown in a handicap hurdle.