Perth provides luck for Irish

By Laura McGimpseyAt Perth Racecourse
Gordon Elliott
Elliott has enjoyed more than 50 wins in Perth

Perth's 2011 Racing season got underway on Wednesday, as the sun shone down on the UK's most beautiful and northerly racecourse.

The track sits in the grounds of the picturesque Scone Palace and the three-day festival is the start of racing at the track from April through to September.

Sam Morshead is the general manager at the friendly course and is excited about the forthcoming season.

"We've got great weather and top jockeys and top trainers up here so it looks like the start of a good season," he said.

One trainer who regularly makes the journey across the Irish Sea to Perthshire is Gordon Elliott.

It is almost five years since he launched his auspicious training career and his enduring affection for Perth, through a horse called Arresting.

It was Arresting that gave the young Irish trainer his first winner in 2006 and he has since sent out over 50 winners at the track earning him the accolade of top trainer over the last five seasons - extraordinary for one whose base is in County Meath.

"We are obviously very lucky here and I trained my first winner here and they're good to us here at Perth," said Elliott.

"The ground is great, the owners love coming - it's a lovely place."

He had held a licence barely a year when Silver Birch won the Grand National at Aintree in 2007. At a mere age of 29, Elliott was the youngest National-winning trainer in history and has since added Cheltenham festival winners and an Ebor win to his achievements but plays down the success.

"I've been very lucky working for a few good men in Tony Martin and Martin Pipe and learned plenty off them and always kept my ears open and my eyes open and things have worked well - it's great," added a very modest Elliott.

With no racing pedigree, the family business was cars not horses, Elliott started off his working life in racing as an amateur rider and notched many successes notably two at Cheltenham.

"I got into racing by accident really - I used to go point to pointing as a young lad as my uncle had a few horses and things went well from there," he explained.

"After riding as an amateur a while I decided I'd like to train and that's it really - the rest is history."

Morshead, who demonstrates a real passion for the track he manages, believes Elliott's success is basically down to him being good at his job.

"He's obviously a very good trainer, his owners like coming here and perhaps his horses are suited to Perth, they're fit and like to race handy and he picks the races well," said Morshead.

"I just think he's a damn good trainer and makes the most of what we can offer."

It will come as no surprise if a certain G. Elliott is still at the top of the trainers table at Perth come September.

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