Elliott pips Mullins for Leading Trainer

2017-03-17 18:49:01, Views: 0, ICS

Elliott pips Mullins for Leading Trainer

Gordon Elliott pipped Willie Mullins for the Leading Trainer Award at the Cheltenham Festival after Champagne Classic's win on Friday.

The Gigginstown-owned and unfancied six-year-old gave Elliott his sixth winner of the Festival when taking the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.

Under a terrific ride from JJ Slevin, Champagne Classic was in the lead at the last and had over two lengths to spare from Verni, trained by Philip Hobbs, and another Elliott runner, Runfordave, in third place.

It was enough to give the County Meath handler the trainer's title at the Festival for the first time - on countback from Mullins.

"It's been an amazing week," said Elliott. "To beat Willie, with the strength he has - and he's an amazing trainer - is brilliant.

"It's a credit to the staff and the owners, I'm part of a team so we'll enjoy it.

"Coming over I was hoping for one and we won the first race with Labaik so everything else has been a bonus.

"It's unbelievable, we had three winners Tuesday and had a bit of a drink, too much so we haven't touched a drop since. When we get home next week we'll have a staff party."

Elliott is still in the lead in the race for the Irish trainers' title, with Fairyhouse and Punchestown set to be key factors in the outcome.