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Elliott wields 23-strong team for Grand National

3 minute read

Trainer Gordon Elliott boasts a strong hand for this year’s Grand National, with twenty-three currently entered.

Gordon Elliott.
Gordon Elliott. Picture: PA

The race has been an important part of the County Meath-based trainer's rise to the top, achieving a first Grand National victory with Silver Birch in 2006, merely a year after taking out a license. He followed up with back-to-back successes with Aintree legend Tiger Roll in 2018 and 2019 and another success would take Elliott level with Ginger McCain, Fred Rimell and George Dockery as a four-time winner of the contest.

"It's still a great thrill for us," Elliott said.

"We'd love to win it again and if we did it would be very special. It's a great race - it's one of the greatest races in the world. Tiger Roll winning the second was unbelievable."

With twenty-three entries, the weight allocation was always going to be an important factor in ranking the chances of his runners and Elliott has identified Galvin and Chemical Energy as eye-catching.

Whilst Galvin has failed to hit the frame this year, the ten-year-old produced a big effort at last year's Cheltenham Festival when second in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country behind stablemate Delta Work and unseated at the first fence in the 2023 renewal of the Grand National under top-weight.

Chemical Energy has a different profile from the majority of Elliott's runners, having finished a commendable second behind Gaillard Du Mesnil in the Grade 2 National Hunt Challenge Cup at the Festival in 2023. He defeated the re-opposing and well-fancied Mahler Mission by sixty-one lengths during his novice campaign and has only had one run so far this season.

"Galvin looks like he could be well handicapped," he noted.

"He was nearly top weight last year and he's one who could be there. He'll definitely be going for the National. He'll run at the Cross Country at Cheltenham first.

"Chemical Energy is another. We've been keeping him for a bit of Spring ground, so this has been the plan all year."

Although Delta Work, Coko Beach and Fury Road are amongst the entries guaranteed to get a run and expected to head to Aintree, Elliott had question marks over others.

"Farouk d'Alene might go to the Irish National and Salvador Ziggy will go for the National Hunt Chase (at Cheltenham), and he could go for the Randox Grand National afterwards," he added.

"He's [Ash Tree Meadow] probably not that well handicapped. I don't know about him.

"We'll have to wait and see with Favori de Champdou as he might go for the Irish National but The Goffer will definitely run if he gets in."

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