Home News Riviere D’etel Could Set Tone for Important Week for Elliott

Riviere D’etel Could Set Tone for Important Week for Elliott

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Riviere D’etel Could Set Tone for Important Week for Elliott

The first day of Cheltenham Festival can be illuminating for owners and trainers about how they will fare over the course of the week.  Success on day one can build momentum, while failure can mean it might be a very long week of disappointment for all those involved. Gordon Elliott needs strong performances from the off as he seeks to rebuild his tarnished image.

The Irishman was banned from racing for six months last year, missing 2021 Cheltenham Festival, after being pictured sitting on a dead horse. Elliott lost a number of endorsements and horses from his yard as a result of the scandal along with his suspension. He is now looking to rebuild his image on the track, and a look at Cheltenham odds today suggests that his best hope on day one is for Riviere D’etel to win the Arkle Chase after being backed at +300 to win the crown.

The performance of the grey mare in the second race of the festival could determine whether Elliott can be a contender for trainer of the week, although he is currently backed behind Willie Mullins at +250 in the Cheltenham top trainer odds. Riviere D’etel has the quality to win the race and set the tone for the likes of the prestigious Tiger Roll and Galvin to follow in the Cross Country Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup last in the week. The start will be extremely important for the French thoroughbred and her trainer, even though the task will be a tough one amid a talented field.

Riviere D’etel was poor under the charge of Denise Foster in her first appearance at Cheltenham Festival. She finished down in seventh place in the Juvenile Hurdle in a race that she was expected to compete for a victory. But after Elliott’s return for the start of the new campaign, the five-year-old staged a marked improvement in races in Ireland.

The French thoroughbred notched victories at Fairyhouse, Punchestown, and Navan in the early months of the campaign. The stakes were raised on Boxing Day at Leopardstown in the Racing Post Novice Chase where she faced off against Ferny Hollow. Although Riviere D’etel and Jack Kennedy in the saddle put forward a spirited performance, she was beaten by one-and-a-half lengths by Willie Mullins’ charge.

Mullins and Elliott would face off again in February in the Irish Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown. On this occasion, Riviere D’etel appeared to be on the verge of beating out Mullins’ Blue Lord, but was allegedly interfered with preventing an earlier charge, and allowing his rival to edge out a narrow victory by half-a-length. Even though Elliott’s horse was defeated, the Irishman will be confident going into the Arkle Chase that the French thoroughbred has what it takes to overcome the Mullins horse.

Edwardstone under the tutelage of Alan King is the favorite and has been in outstanding form in England over the course of the campaign, including a fine performance in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park in December. Even if Riviere D’etel defeats Blue Lord, she will have to likely beat Edwardstone to take the crown. Should the French thoroughbred achieve the feat, it could set the tone for a very successful week for Elliott and his yard.

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