Elliott appreciates the rewards of hard work

One businessman, at least, is bucking the recessionary trend in his beleaguered country. In the four years since he won the 2007 Grand National with the patched-up point-to-pointer Silver Birch, Gordon Elliott's training empire has expanded from 10 horses to 60, and patronage from some of the sport's shrewdest owners. Here yesterday he put the seal on his emerging talent with a double, courtesy of Chicago Grey in the opening National Hunt Challenge Cup and Carlito Brigante, who turned the normally competitive Coral Cup into a solo tour de force.

Elliott, 33, won the National only a year after setting up at Capranny, near Trim in Co Meath, and at that point had not saddled a winner in his own country. "To be honest," he said yesterday, "I didn't really realise what I'd done at Aintree, didn't really appreciate it. Now I realise just how hard the job is, and today is massive, not just for me, but the whole team back home. Everyone works hard and the reward is us going onward and upward."

To win a championship contest this week requires, as well as all the usual skills, a high-class horse. To win a handicap requires a certain native cunning, with which not all of Elliott's profession are blessed. But two of his mentors have been Tony Martin and Martin Pipe, leading exponents in that particular field.

Carlito Brigante, who finished fourth in the Triumph Hurdle at the meeting 12 months ago, had maintained his handicap mark all winter, warming up for yesterday with a second place over an inadequate distance on unsuitably testing ground. That was his first outing since surgery to aid his breathing and yesterday showed the benefit with puff to spare as he galloped six lengths clear up the hill.

Chicago Grey's margin of victory was almost as great at four and a half lengths, but it was a harder-fought success, ground out inch by inch under Derek O'Connor in the amateurs' four-miler. The display by the eight-year-old, who jumped impeccably, will surely put him under consideration for the Aintree showpiece in due course. "Today was the day," said Elliott. "We'll enjoy that first and think about anything else another time."

Carlito Brigante brought up a double not only for his trainer but his owner, Michael O'Leary, whose Mouse Morris-trained First Lieutenant inched home from Rock On Ruby in the mid-distance Grade One novice hurdle, and Davy Russell, who rode both horses. It was a seventh Festival success for Morris, and a first since War Of Attrition, in the same maroon silks, took the Gold Cup five years ago. "I count this day as a tribute to my father, Ted," said O'Leary. "I wouldn't have owned a racehorse if he hadn't bred the love of it into me and, as he's having treatment for cancer, it's an emotional moment."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas