Gordon Elliott holds strong hand in National Trial at Punchestown

Tue 5 Feb 2019

There are 40 names still in contention for the Boylesports Grand National Trial at Punchestown on Sunday, with Gordon Elliott responsible for nine of them.

Alpha Des Obeaux is heading the weights after his meritorious run in the Thyestes Chase recently. He is one of numerous possibles for the stable along with Don Poli, Monbeg Notorious and Irish National winner General Principle.

Alpha Des Obeaux finished an agonising second in the Thyestes Chase behind Invitation Only at Thurles

Folsom Blue, who took this prize 12 months ago and in 2014, is also in the mix.

“We’ve left a good few in and we’ll just see how things are looking later in the week with the weather. It’s possible Folsom Blue could run again,” said Elliott.

“He ran well over hurdles at Sandown at the weekend and he’s come out of that race in good shape. I’d hope that we will be well represented on Sunday, it’s a great pot and I’d love to win it again.”

Enda Bolger’s Auvergnat proved his versatility at Christmas when winning the valuable Paddy Power Chase having shown all his best form previously in cross-country races.

He will, though, need to overcome a 12lb rise in the handicap.

Back in third that day in the same JP McManus colours was the Paul Nolan-trained Fitzhenry and he will meet the winner on much better terms.

“All going well he’ll be running, I’d like plenty of rain ideally,” said Nolan.

“The ground was just a bit too quick at Leopardstown, but the plan since then has always been Punchestown as long as the ground is safe.

“He’s only just turned seven, hopefully there’s plenty more to come. He’s been running consistently this season without winning so it would be nice to get a win under his belt.”

Willie Mullins has the novice Some Neck and Isleofhopendreams among his team.

Mall Dini, Sumos Novios, Youcantcallherthat, Baie Des Iles, Monksland, Raz De Maree and Goose Man are among what is sure to be a competitive race

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