As we come to the close of 2023, it was interesting to get the opinions of Gordon Elliott in the prelude to Christmas programme of racing over the country.
He had further winners, no more so than the impressive bumper winner Jalan D’oudairies who won well going away from the Willie Mullins trained Redemption Day at Leopardstown in its last race of the Christmas festival.
He also had his disappointment of Gerri Colombe was beaten by Galopin Des Champs who cruised to a 23 lengths victory in the 3m 1/2 furlong Savills Chase on soft and testing ground on Thursday.
His comments given to Sam Inkersole of Press Box give a glimpse of the thoughts and feelings of the Cullentra based trainer :
‘We are having a great year so far at the yard – but I never take anything for granted’
Yes, it’s been good. We can’t complain. We work hard every year and we are very lucky to be in the position we are. But I never take anything for granted. We have very good horses and great owners and staff and we are having a great year. I love training winners. I’ll go anywhere for a winner.
We have got a great bunch of young horses, and we are very happy with them. It’s about getting the young ones and trying to find the next champion. There are exciting times ahead hopefully.’
On attempting to win the trainers title :
I’m not thinking about winning the trainers title
I am not even thinking about it. It used to be in my head a long time ago, but I don’t even think about it anymore. I just want to train winners and do the best for my owners.
You have problems every day of the week when training but I wouldn’t swap it for anything
I wouldn’t say I was living the dream, but I am hungry for winners! As much as you enjoy having winners you have problems too every day of the week. But it’s a great game – I wouldn’t swap it for anything.
Racing is reflective of many sports – the bigger stars are getting bigger and they are hard to beat
That’s the way the world is going in every aspect of sport. The big stables are getting bigger but the bigger football teams are getting bigger and it’s the same in hurling here in Ireland. They’re very hard to beat.
I am very fortunate to battle with Willie Mullins year in, year out
I have been second to Willie for the past eight or nine years. It is great, it makes you hungry and want to do better. You have to keep chasing him but I am in a very fortunate position.
On the challenges of Brexit :
Brexit has limited my ability to send horses to Britain to race – but I will always try and find a way
Yes but I don’t send as many as we used to. The logistics of going over nowadays, the expense with Brexit and all the paperwork doesn’t make it easy for us. But if we have to travel we will.
Cheltenham is always a main target for us – I can’t wait to back next year
We target a lot of horses at Cheltenham. The type of horse we have seems to suit it. I can’t wait to get back there again this year. It will be very competitive but it is what you train for.
I have great memories of Prestbury Park – but winning the Grand National is even more special
I have great memories of Cheltenham. To have a contender for the Gold Cup is brilliant. But winning the Grand National is very special and I’ve done it three times.
To win it three times is amazing and I’d love to win it again. Days there are very special. But every day is great when you have a winner! Whether it is at Aintree, Cheltenham or Downpatrick, it just gives you such a great buzz.
Before Christmas on his talented Gerri Colombe :
”I think Gerri Colombe can beat Galopin Des Champs in the Gold Cup – but we haven’t decided his next trip yet
I hope so. He will go to the Gold Cup as a very, very good horse. He is young, on the way up but he is in very good form and we think the world of him. There’ll be a lot of improvement in him (after the Ladbroke Champion Chase). He wants to win, is tough and he stays. I couldn’t be happier.
The Gold Cup trip will suit him very well. He’s still a young horse and we’ll mind where he goes. I am happy with the start we have had with him. He is not as flashy as Don Cossack and doesn’t do much at home. He keeps it all for the track. The style of racing will suit the Gold Cup and I wouldn’t swap him, he is climbing the ladder the whole time.’