Ballyadam could be Ballymore bound as Elliott targets another Cheltenham Festival win

28 September 2020
By Bryan Smyth

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle could be the end-of-season target for exciting novice Ballyadam, who’s one of the horses to follow during the new National Hunt season.

Gordon Elliott and owners Cheveley Park Stud opened their cheque-book to purchase Ballyadam at the Tattersalls Cheltenham November Sale last November. A bidding war ensued for the Fame And Glory gelding and it was Elliott who prevailed with a bid of £330,000.

Much was expected of Ballyadam – named after a neighbourhood in Cork – when he made his debut for new connections at Navan in February. Elliott’s recruit was backed into 1/4 favouritism on the day, but punters were left stunned, as the market leader could only finish third on what was very testing ground.

Ballyadam was backed even further into the realms of odds-on before his second bumper start at Downpatrick. This time, Jamie Codd’s mount made no mistake, cruising to an effortless 18-length triumph.

Elliott resisted the temptation to take Ballyadam to the Cheltenham Festival. Connections decided to play the long game, knowing the five-year-old’s future lay over jumps the following season.

The 2020/21 campaign is almost upon us, and Ballyadam could be part of Elliott’s squad for Down Royal in November. Elliott loves to start his top talents out at Down Royal. Envoi Allen made his debut over hurdles at the Belfast venue 12 months ago, and Ballyadam could be pointed at the same race his stablemate won so impressively.

Although he didn’t look short of speed when hacking up at Downpatrick, Ballyadam is unlikely to remain over the minimum distance for too long. Fame And Glory is a good producer of staying hurdlers and chasers. Ballyadam is also a half-brother to Legal Eyes, who won a three-mile handicap chase for Ben Pauling in February, before suffering a fatal injury soon after.

The Ballymore is a race Elliott has targeted in recent seasons, scoring with Samcro and Envoi Allen. Ballyadam already features prominently in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle betting, and it seems that will be his objective when he makes his Cheltenham Festival debut in March.

Plans won’t be decided until the spring, when the Supreme, Ballymore and the Albert Bartlett will be taken into consideration. One thing we can say for sure, though, is that Elliott has a future star on his hands with Ballyadam. The whole of Ireland will wait with bated breath to see what this talented five-year-old will accomplish over the coming weeks, months and years.

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