Gordon Elliott admits Michael O’Leary’s decision to wind down the Gigginstown House Stud operation is a blow, but is keen to focus on the future and enjoy his remaining years training for the team.
O’Leary made the shock announcement on Tuesday that he is planning to phase out the famous maroon and white silks over the next four to five years, with a policy of not recruiting any new talent marking the beginning of the end.
Elliott has enjoyed staunch support from O’Leary during his training career, and the pair enjoyed a spectacular high just last month when Tiger Roll became the first horse since Red Rum to secure back-to-back victories in the Grand National at Aintree.
Before that historic success, Elliott also sent out Gigginstown’s Don Cossack to win the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup – and he has voiced his gratitude for having handled such equine greats.
He said: “Gigginstown have been very, very good to me all through my career so far. They’ve really supported me, and we’ve been lucky to have some great horses and great days together.
“It is a blow, obviously – they have plenty of horses with us. But there are a lot of other owners in the yard, and we’ve proven we can train – so hopefully some other owners will come in.”
As well Tiger Roll and Don Cossack, Elliott trains Gigginstown’s prolific mare Apple’s Jade and also houses Grade One-winning hurdler Samcro – who is widely tipped to shine over fences next season.
Elliott added: “It’s not over yet. There’s still a few more years to go with them, and it’s just about pushing on and moving forward.”