11 Gordon Elliott horses who could miss Cheltenham Festival after photo controversy

Whether Elliott gets the chance to add to his 32 Cheltenham Festival winners in 2021 is now in the hands of the racing authorities
11 Gordon Elliott horses who could miss Cheltenham Festival after photo controversy

Zanahiyr, a superstar in the making, is unbeaten in three starts for Gordon Elliott.

The arrival of March is normally an exciting time for Gordon Elliott, a month where he routinely showcases his training brilliance at the Cheltenham Festival.

Whether he gets the chance to add to his 32 Festival winners at Cheltenham 2021 is now in the hands of the racing authorities after Elliott admitted a picture of him sitting on a dead horse was genuine.

The horrific picture is hugely damaging for the sport’s image and is likely to have devastating consequences for Elliott that extend well beyond this year’s Festival.

But, as things stand, nine of the favourites or co-favourites for the 28 races down for decision between March 16 and 19 are stabled at Elliott’s County Meath base.

Among them are some of the highest-profile horses in National Hunt racing and the threat to their participation in the Cotswolds is now very real. Here’s 11 who could miss out.

Escaria Ten: Second to Eklat De Rire at Naas last time out, the seven-year-old is the clear favourite for the Ultima Handicap Chase, the opening handicap at the Festival.

Quilixios: While more likely to take on stablemate Zanahiyr in the Triumph Hurdle on Gold Cup day, the Grade One-winning four-year-old also has the option of Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, on day one.

Galvin: Last seen completing a four-timer when winning at Cheltenham in October, the talented seven-year-old has been put away for the National Hunt Chase.

Grand Roi: Last seen chasing home Bachasson in a Naas Grade Three, the five-year-old heads the market for the Coral Cup, a race Elliott has won twice before.

Tiger Roll:

A four-time Festival winner, the dual National hero has struggled since his second Aintree success but would still have a chance in the Glenfarclas Chase.

Sir Gerhard: Unbeaten in two starts for Elliott, the son of Jeremy looked likely to go off favourite in the Champion Bumper until the Willie Mullins-trained Kilcruit usurped him at the head of the market with a visually stunning display at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Envoi Allen: A dual Festival winner, the unbeaten seven-year-old might just be the most talented horse Elliott has ever trained. The most recent of his five Grade One wins came at Fairyhouse in November and he has long been viewed as banker material for the Marsh Novices’ Chase.

The Bosses Oscar: Victorious at Thurles first time out this season, the six-year-old has since found one too good in two subsequent outings but still co-shares favouritism for the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.

Farclas: Though he has yet to win this season, the 2018 Triumph Hurdle winner has run some eye-catching races in defeat, efforts that have propelled him to the summit of the Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase market.

Zanahiyr: Unbeaten in three starts for Elliott, the son of Nathaniel has long looked the one to beat in the Triumph Hurdle. He could be a superstar.

Grand Paradis:

Elliott always likes to target Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, a race named in honour of his mentor, and Grand Paradis looks this year’s chosen one after a dominant victory in a Thurles Grade Three last time out.

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