The Irish Daily Star Chase has been a happy hunting ground for Gordon Elliott and the trainer has assembled a strong team for the 2019 renewal next Wednesday as Punchestown launch their 2019/2020 season next week with a two day meeting on Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 October.
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Elliott won the Grade 3 Irish Daily Star Chase on five consecutive occasions from 2011 to 2015, including twice with the Gold Cup winner Don Cossack and he is responsible for three of the nine entries revealed today.
The Grade 1 winner Shattered Love is joined by Alpha Des Obeaux and Dounikos and it's the latter two that are most likely to represent the Meath based trainer on Wednesday.
Elliott commented: “Alpha Des Obeaux is in good form and is ready to start out for the season. He had the option of the Munster National this weekend but we’ve decided to wait for Punchestown which looks a nice starting point for his season.
“Like a lot of ours he is going to come on for the run and it is his first run since February so he’ll improve plenty and he won’t have any problem with the ground if it does ease over the next few days.
"This has been a lucky race for us," the trainer added. "We've given Shattered Love an entry and Dounikos is going well and looks ready to start off.
"He can run well fresh and this looks a good race to start him out in rather than asking him to carry top weight in a big handicap for his first run of the season. On his day he is a very smart horse and he was very good when winning the National Trial here at Punchestown last season.”
While Elliott has managed to claim five renewals since 2011, owners Gigginstown House Stud have landed a total of 10 since the legend War Of Attrition won his first of three Irish Daily Star Chase's in 2005.
As well as the Elliott-trained trio, Gigginstown also have Balko Des Flos and Tout Est Permis among the entries this time around.
Jessica Harrington will be aiming to transfer her incredible form on the Flat to her favourite track as Jett makes up the entries alongside the Aidan Howard-trained Drumcliff, Liam Cusack's Snugsborough Benny and Some Neck who is Willie Mullins' sole representative in the race.
The Grade 3 Ladbrokes Acca Buck House Novice Chase also features on Wednesday's card.
Gigginstown have a strong hand here also, headed by the Elliott-trained pair of Champagne Classic and Swordsman, while Noel Meade's recent winner Daly Tiger is another notable inclusion.
Elliott will be looking for a third victory in this race with his most recent success coming when Death Duty defeated Tout Est Permis and Woodland Opera two years ago.
“Swordsman won nicely at Roscommon late last month and he should be able to cope with the drop in trip. He is a nice horse and the best is still to come from him and we hope that he will make up into a graded horse this winter," Elliott said.
“Champagne Classic has options this weekend too so we’ll just consider all our options for him before making a definite decision as to where he goes. This is always an exciting time of the year and it'll be good to get back to Punchestown again.”
Racing on Tuesday at Punchestown is due to start at 1.55pm with a seven race card and Wednesday is also a seven race card with the first off at 2.05pm.
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