Gordon Elliott will head into the 2022 Cheltenham Festival eager to redeem himself in the eyes of horse racing fans everywhere.
Elliott was the leading training at the Festival in 2017 and 2018 and has saddled a total of 31 winners at the meeting to date.
However, his reputation took a bashing earlier this year after he was banned for six months for being photographed sitting on a dead horse.
After losing several of his stable stars, Elliott has assembled a new team for this season. We take a look at four of his horses who could end up at the Cheltenham Festival.
Gars De Sceaux
The 141-rated hurdler won two of his three starts last season, finishing off with a stylish success over nearly three miles at Navan in March.
He made light work of his opponents on that occasion, taking up the lead approaching the last flight before racing away to a nine-length victory.
Gars De Sceaux has strengthened up considerably over the summer and has impressed Elliott during schooling sessions over fences.
The five-year-old is expected to take high order over three miles this season and could be worth watching out for in one of the big novice events at the Festival.
Three Stripe Life
Three Stripe Life made a winning debut in a bumper at Navan in January before finishing fourth in the Champion Bumper at last year’s Festival.
He was touted as a potential star of the future after producing some excellent work at home over obstacles and duly obliged on his hurdling debut at Fairyhouse.
The five-year-old showed a few signs of temperament, hanging left early in the race before settling into a nice rhythm under jockey Davy Russell.
He scooted clear approaching the second last in the manner of a smart performer and looks well worth following as the season progresses.
After winning a point-to-point at Turtulla in March 2020, Hollow Games changed hands for £255,000 and won both his outings in bumpers for Elliott last season.
He kicked off this season with an impressive win at Down Royal before powering clear for a stylish success in a Grade 3 event at Navan.
Hollow Games jumped to the head of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle betting after that performance and could be a tough nut to crack at the Festival.
The five-year-old has already shown that he stays, and the three-mile distance at Cheltenham should be right up his street.
Vina Ardanza won on debut in a bumper at Ayr for Stuart Crawford in April before changing hands and joining Elliott’s stable.
He made a winning start over hurdles at Thurles, giving ten pounds and a short head beating to the Patrick Flynn trained Walnut Beach.
The four-year-old travelled strongly during the race, but sketchy jumps over the last three hurdles allowed his rival to finish closer than expected.
With plenty of improvement to come, don’t be surprised to see Vina Ardanza pitch up in one of the top novice hurdles at the Festival.
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