GORDON Elliott enjoyed another excellent afternoon at Perth yesterday as Raajih’s victory in the feature GS Group Gallop Handicap Chase completed a double on the afternoon for the County Meath maestro.
Elliott has a tremendous record with the runners he sends to the Scottish track, with his latest brace taking him to the 74-winner mark in the past five seasons. Raajih was a 9-1 shot for his tough assignment and knuckled down well for Jason Maguire to get up and beat admirable front-runner Rhum by a length and a quarter. The formidable Elliott-Maguire combination had earlier struck gold with Formal Bid, who justified 6-4 favouritism in the Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Claiming Hurdle.
Elliott said: “The ground was plenty soft enough, so I was a bit worried, but we’ve had a double and it’s been a great day. Raajih only does what he has to do, but he’s tough and honest and did it well. He’s declared for the novice chase here on Thursday and could take his chance.
“Formal Bid is also down to run on Thursday, but he won’t.”
There was a disappointing start to proceedings for Irish raiders as Colin McBratney’s 8-13 favourite Butney Rock had to make do with the runner-up spot behind 8-1 shot Mysteree in the Hugh And Jean Brogan Memorial Novices’ Hurdle.
Another Irish-trained runner to perform below expectations was Shark Hanlon’s Baizically, who finished a well beaten sixth behind Kilvergan Boy (11-4 favourite) in the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance Handicap Chase.
Today, meanwhile, Sam Twiston-Davies is expecting a bold show from Double Ross on the card that brings down the curtain on Perth’s season of celebrating 400 years of racing in the area. Trained by his father Nigel, the gelding reverts to fences in the £11,000 Timothy Hardie Jewellers Novices’ Chase staged over an extended two and a half miles .
Twiston-Davies jnr said: “The ground and trip will be fine and, with a little bit of competition, he should have a nice time.”
Among those facing Double Ross are Fergal O’Brien’s Dark Energy and Malcolm Jefferson-trained Attaglance, the highest rated hurdler in the field.
Perth clerk Sam Morshead said: “This is one of the oldest meetings in the UK jumps calendar and the first fixture recorded here on the South Inch took place in September 1613.”