| 9.5°C Dublin

Elliott's Cause for optimism

Meath-based Gordon Elliott would appear to be a trainer to keep on the right side of this weekend as he has a number of interesting runners, most notably with continually improving five-year-old Cause Of Causes, who contests the opening Follow Navan On Facebook Hurdle tomorrow afternoon.

The progressive sort has propelled up the ratings since first obtaining a mark of 118 from the Irish handicapper back in May following a maiden hurdle win at Killarney, and in just seven runs since then he has won three of those and been placed in two lucrative races.

An arguably unlucky runner-up behind Rebel Fitz in the Galway Hurdle, Cause Of Causes won a conditions race at Fairyhouse before again getting little luck in running in the Racing Post Hurdle at Cheltenham back in November.

Despite a disliking for the heavy ground at Ascot last month, he belied his odds with a rout in the £150,000 Ladbroke Hurdle at odds of 25/1 and although the ground will again be against his preferred liking tomorrow, Elliott is hoping for a bold showing.

"He is highly rated now and there are not a lot of places to go with him so we'll let him take his chance in the conditions race at Navan tomorrow," Elliott said.

Cause Of Causes is owned by the Timeform and Betfair Racing Club and therefore could have the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury next month on his agenda.

"He's entered for the Betfair Hurdle along with Discoteca, Shadow Catcher and Shrapnel, but I'm not sure about that race yet," Elliott continued.

"We'll see how Cause Of Causes and Shrapnel get on over the weekend and we'll make a decision from there. Both horses seem in good form but they both look like good races."

Shrapnel goes to Punchestown today for the concluding Free Festival Ticket Upgrade Now On Hurdle where he will face just four rivals.

On ratings, Shrapnel actually goes into the race as the one with most to prove as all four are superior according to the handicapper.

But Shrapnel could be more on the progressive side and would have strong claims of completing his hat-trick.

Gigginstown are double-handed in the race with Si C'etait Vrai also entered, while Willie Mullins will saddle Sergent Guib's and Pickapocketortwo who both return after over eight months off, while Fully Funded completes the field for Noel Meade and Paul Carberry.

Elliott has eight runners throughout the weekend and the other that makes the most appeal is Tarquinius in the Foxrock Handicap Chase, which, despite being a decent pot, has only attracted 11 runners.

Elliott has stayed loyal to one of his stable amateurs, David O'Leary, who enjoyed his first racecourse winner when winning on Tarquinius at Fairyhouse on New Year's Day and might still be a step ahead of the handicapper.



Opportunity

Trainer Tom Mullins has a couple of interesting runners this weekend with his Cheltenham, Fairyhouse and Punchestown Festival hero Alderwood likely to have a great opportunity to open his account over fences and, for JP McManus, Mullins runs Some Article in the maiden hurdle at Punchestown today.

Some Article won the Goffs Land Rover Bumper by an impressive seven-and-a-half lengths at Punchestown last April and, after a nice introduction over hurdles at Navan before Christmas, he would look up to winning later today.

Alderwood will be bidding to open his account at the third time of asking in the beginners' chase at Navan tomorrow under Mark Walsh and he is likely to go off the short-priced favourite to oblige.