Gordon Elliott targets Irish National with Punchestown hero Folsom Blue

Sun 11 Feb 2018

Folsom Blue was the highlight of a Gordon Elliott treble when he came out on top in a thrilling finish to the BoyleSports Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Punchestown.

The well-backed 5-1 favourite led between the final two fences but a hesitant jump at the last appeared to let in the Willie Mullins-trained Isleofhopendreams.

However, he was galvanised by Jack Kennedy to regain the advantage on the run-in on what was his first race over fences this season after a spell hurdling.

Folsom Blue was a length and a half in command at the line, with last year's winner Baie Des Iles 13 lengths back in third place. Space Cadet was another five lengths away in fourth.

He won the race back in 2014 for Mouse Morris and had only run at Sandown last weekend when fourth in a hot handicap hurdle won by Topofthegame.

"He's a great, honest horse. We sent him to England last week and they went no gallop so it was a bit of a worry coming back a week later. It was great," said Elliott.

"He kind of jammed on at the last but, other than that, Jack said he jumped good. He said if he had something with him he would have jumped it better, but it worked out great and everyone is happy.

"I'd say he'll go for the Irish National. I'd say he'll definitely go there."

Hardline (5-2 joint-favourite) made the most of a drop in class to kick off the Elliott three-timer in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle, and Getaway John (4-7 favourite) completed it with victory in the concluding bumper under Jamie Codd.

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