Michael O’Leary dropped something of a bombshell on trainer Gordon Elliott in May 2019, the Ryanair chief executive announcing that he would be winding down his Gigginstown stud over the next few years. Nevertheless Elliott has said that this news was the “kick up the backside” that he needed.
O’Leary has been Gordon Elliott’s principal backer since he received his trainers licence fourteen years ago, however he intends to wind down his racing and bloodstock operations over the course of the next five years and won’t be buying any new livestock.
Far from wallowing in self-pity, Elliott says that this news spurred him on. He said: “If you just look at the sales you will see that we’re stronger than ever. Do you know what? It has probably given us the kick up the backside we needed. We’re working hard to keep buying horses. Michael and Eddie have still got a lot of horses here and you never know what will happen.
“I’m very lucky with the horses I have. I have some great owners and brilliant staff and we’re always looking to improve. That’s always the aim. We’re here [Cullentra House] six years now and we’re trying to improve the whole time.”
Regarding his ultimate ambitions, Elliott said: “If you asked me if I wanted to win a Grand National, Gold Cup or be champion trainer there would only be one answer. That would be champion trainer. But that is years down the road.”
Clearly the most famous horse in the Gigginstown stable right now is Tiger Roll, however while the handicapper appears to suggest otherwise, Elliott believes that the two-time Grand National winner wouldn’t fare well in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He added: “We might run Tiger in the Punchestown Gold Cup this year, so we could get to see how he gets on against those better horses but, for me, I don’t think he’d go out for the final circuit in a Cheltenham Gold Cup. He’s that type of horse.
“I know his rating suggests I’m wrong, but I just think he loves doing different things and jumping different types of fences. The handicapper has his job to do and, the higher rating he has, the greater certainty he must be in the Cross Country!”