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High-flying Elliott eyes super Sunday

By Ron McKnight

Gordon Elliott, leading trainer at Downpatrick last season with 18 winners, has already registered nine winners at the track in this campaign and can add to that tally tomorrow.

The Meath handler poses a dilemma for punters in the Summer Handicap Hurdle as he is doubly represented by Broughtons Bandit and Canova.

The pair are the mounts of ultra-talented claiming riders with teen Jack Kennedy, having already conquered the pony racing circuit and now making a name for himself on the course proper, partnering Broughtons Bandit.

Luke Dempsey, another rising star, is aboard Canova which is bottom weight. Kennedy's mount just gets preference.

Elliott also has prospects in the opening maiden hurdle with Moonmeister, however Little Rocky - the mount of former Irish champion jump jockey Paul Townend - gets the vote following a third at Killarney last month.

Downpatrick trainer Brian Hamilton is doubly represented in the opener with Tight Times and Sovereign Princess, the former looking the best of the pair and a possible place candidate.

Feel The Air's last three starts have been at Downpatrick - a win and two seconds - and the Mark McNiff runner looks capable of claiming the mares handicap hurdle at the expense of Ellie Mia, representing trainer Jim Dreaper and the locally based Conway family who enjoyed success at the last fixture.

Cousin Bill could supply a local success in the beginners chase, the horse trained in Newry by Sean McParlan and partnered by his son and current Ulster champion point to point rider Noel McParlan.

In the handicap chase, Fort Smith - trained by Elliott - sprang a surprise when winning on his chasing debut. Bryan Cooper is in the saddle.

Aidan O'Brien has a rare runner at the course with King Leon.

The Keith Watson-trained Finea could offer the each way value.

El Grande won the hunter chase last time at the course and the Dreaper runner appears capable of stepping up in the Summer Time Chase.

El Grande had earlier finished a narrow runner-up to Finea and enjoys the undulating track.

The concluding bumper could yield another local winner in Catch A Lucky Star, trained in Banbridge by Gerry Cosgrave.

DOWNPATRICK TIPS: 2.40 Little Rocky 3.15 Feel The Air 3.50 Broughtons Bandit 4.25 Cousin Bill 4.55 Finea 5.30 El Grande 6.00 Catch a Lucky Star

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