Elliott picks targets for Cheltenham novices

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Gordon Elliott has begun the process of selecting targets for his leading novice hurdlers ahead of the Cheltenham Festival in a little over two weeks.

Leading trainer at the meeting last year, Elliott will once more have a strong team travelling from Ireland for the Cotswolds showpiece.

While he admits that some of his novice hurdlers could perhaps have used a bit more experience, the Cullentra handler is happy with his chosen targets.

Unbeaten Battleoverdoyen is bound for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and is 9/2 with Betfred to give Elliott successive winners in the race following Samcro’s demolition job last March.

With the trip ideal, the trainer is happy going into the race and is content with his decision not to run Battleoverdoyen since his Grade 1 win at Naas in January.

“I didn’t run him at the Dublin Racing Festival because I just felt he’d had three runs in six to eight weeks,” said Elliott at a press visit to his stables.

“He’s in good form – he’s well – and jumps very well. He lacks a bit of experience but I think the race will suit him. He’ll go for the Ballymore.”

Commander Of Fleet did appear at the Dublin Racing Festival, bouncing back from his December disappointment in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse with a fine win as he held off Rhinestone this month at Leopardstown.

He stepped up to 2m6f in that race and Elliott feels three miles in the Albert Bartlett, where he is 7/1 to win, will be the ideal challenge at Cheltenham.

“He won the Grade One in Leopardstown the last day and I think three miles in the Albert Bartlett will suit him,” added Elliott.
“He ran well in the Royal Bond over two miles against a few good horses, but the trip was just too short.

“He’s a nice horse. I suppose the one negative with him is he lacks a bit of experience, but we might get a school in somewhere between now and then.”

Odds subject to change.

This post first appeared here

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