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Ell of a double for Gold star Gordon Elliott

By Ron McKnight

Published 31/03/2016

Midnight express: Midnight Theatre, with Luke Dempsey in the saddle, on the way to winning the Supporting Irish Injured Jockeys Fund EBF Mares Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick yesterday
Midnight express: Midnight Theatre, with Luke Dempsey in the saddle, on the way to winning the Supporting Irish Injured Jockeys Fund EBF Mares Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick yesterday

Gordon Elliott, who less than two weeks ago landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Don Cossack, boosted his high Downpatrick success rate with a cracking double.

On a day that started with the presentation of a cheque for £25,000 to the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund - represented by former Irish champion jockey Paul Townend - by the Downpatrick Racecourse directors, Elliott was again on top form.

Leading trainer at the course, Elliott added to his tally with the winner of the opener, the Roger Loughran-ridden Buyer Beware scoring on his first start for the Meath handler.

"That's his first run for me and I'm delighted as it's also the first horse I've had for the owner, Tim O'Driscoll - he sponsors several of the jockeys including Nina (Carberry)," said Elliott.

"He'll make a nice summer horse and I might go to Perth for a novice hurdle next."

Elliott doubled up when Le Grand Chene - runner-up at the course last time - came out best of a four-way battle to the line in the handicap chase, denying the Newry-trained Pointview Gale.

Elliott said: "He's a grand old servant and wins his races at this time of year.

"He's another that will go to Perth."

Le Grand Chene was partnered by Bryan Cooper, who rode Don Cossack to that historic Gold Cup success.

Trainer Gavin Cromwell, enjoying an excellent season which included success at Fairyhouse's Irish Grand National meeting earlier this week, saw his Midnight Theatre make all the running to claim the mares maiden hurdle.

Cromwell said: "It's all going well. She wants every yard of today's race, even three miles.

"I'll see how she is before deciding what's next. She'll go chasing next season.

"I shoe the horses for the owner who breeds a few."

Maighnealta put a disappointing effort at the track a couple of starts previously behind him when denying runner-up Clonleney by a length in the Northern Ireland Breeders Northern Region Handicap Hurdle.

Winning trainer Dessie McDonagh said: "I was disappointed the last time he ran here but found out he wasn't right afterwards.

"He's run well twice since. He's a grand horse and will make a lovely chaser in time.

"My wife (Helen, former champion lady rider) wanted to come today but I wouldn't let her, she has just had a hip replacement."

Team Elliott was denied a treble when The Winkler won the beginners chase with jockey Donagh Meyler surviving a bad blunder three out and getting the eventual winner running again.

Elliott's Aminabad - who made a mistake at the penultimate fence and was running in the Gigginstown colours of Monday's Irish Grand National winner Rogue Angel - and The Winkler fought out the finish to supply County Kilkenny trainer Eoin Doyle with reward for his long journey.

Belfast Telegraph

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