Trainer Lucinda Russell looking forward to Cheltenham and beyond with Tattersalls purchases

Russell and Scudamore inspecting horses at Tattersalls Cheltenham
Russell and Scudamore inspecting horses at Tattersalls Cheltenham

Trainer Lucinda Russell will be hopeful she can add to her Cheltenham Festival tally next month and is set to field a strong team of representatives, including four Tattersalls Cheltenham purchases: Giovinco, El Elefante, Apple Away and Inox Allen.

Giovinco holds multiple entries at The Festival and has put in some solid performances so far this season with two handicap chase wins as well as finishing runner-up to fellow Tattersalls Jockey Club Sales graduate Stay Away Fay in the Grade 2 Esher Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

Giovinco finishing second to fellow Tattersalls Jockey Club Sales graduate Stay Away Fay in the Grade 2 Esher Novices Chase at Sandown before Christmas

Russell said: “He’s by Walk in the Park and he is just a fabulous horse. He cruised through his novice hurdle year and was unbeaten, including a Listed race at Perth at the end of the season.

“This year we’ve gone novice chasing and we’re absolutely delighted with him. He is going to go to Cheltenham. We’re still unsure as to which race, he is going to go for - whether he goes for the 3m Grade 1 Brown Advisory Chase or 2m4f Grade 1 Turners Novice Chase. We are probably leaning towards the three miles, but we will see as he’s also in a handicap [Ultima Handicap]”.

"He is perfect; the owners haven’t even had him for two years yet and already he is looking at a Festival. He’s a horse who has won plenty and deserves his place there.”

Giovinco was purchased at the 2022 Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale for £85,000 by Russell alongside her regular buying partner Paul McIvor from Michael Griffin’s Knocknacoll Stables.

El Elefante: Grade 2 mares' hurdle entry and a chaser for the future

El Elefante, bought for £40,000 at the Tattersalls Cheltenham January Sale from Coolbawn Stables, holds an entry in the Grade 2 Ryanair Mares Novices’ Hurdle. Russell outlined: “She’s very classy and has come from a good producer [Robert Tector of Coolbawn Stables]. She has found it a little tougher this year but only because we stepped her up in quality of races, but she has got black-type and she’ll make a lovely chaser.”

El Elefante: sold by Robert Tector to Russell and McIvor at the Tattersalls January Sale in 2023

Apple Away: a star for the yard

Apple Away has been another prolific performer for the team, the highlight being her Grade 1 win in last season's Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree. She has been running consistently well in graded company this season and has not been out of the frame on all starts. She holds multiple entries at The Festival with connections not yet able to confirm which assignment she will take up.

Apple Away was purchased for £35,000 at Tattersalls Cheltenham April Sale in 2022 by Russell and McIvor from Terence Leonard’s Ballynoe Castle Stud.

The Russell and Scudamore buying strategy 

Russell's partner, the former champion NH jockey Peter Scudamore, said: “There is a limit to the length of your pockets, so sometimes the mares give you residual value. A horse such as Apple Away having won a Listed race is worth a good bit of money as a stud mare. Another one we’ve got is Lady In The Park [£90,000 Tattersalls Cheltenham April Sale purchase from Tom Dreaper’s Greenogue Racing Stables]. We have taken her along the same lines as Apple [Away]. She was only beaten about a length in the same handicap hurdle that Apple Away won [in 2023]. She [Lady In The Park] will now possibly go to a Listed race at Doncaster.

“Sometimes with the mares you have a residual value for them, while geldings, they have to find a home when they’re retired – well, Corach Rambler will live in a castle at the bottom of my garden! 

Russell and Scudamore highlight the importance of attending the sales regularly, not only to assess stock but they believe getting to know the producers is a key element in sourcing future winners.

“You get to know people you like to buy from and that leave improvement. Someone such as Colin Bowe would be one of the best producers in the British Isles. His gallop is fantastic, but you look at his gallop and you think, ‘Gosh, I’ll never maintain the work from there’, but they do. You build up a trust and an association. I always find someone like Colin Bowe, he tells you the truth, he tells you what it is.”

Russell and Scudamore inspecting Inox Allen at the Tattersalls Cheltenham May Sale with Colin Bowe and his son Bobby

Grade 1 Albert Bartlett hopeful Inox Allen bought from Milestone Stables

Russell and McIvor purchased the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett-entered Inox Allen from Colin Bowe’s Milestone Stables for £40,000 at last year’s Tattersalls Cheltenham May Sale after he had won on sole point-to-point start. He has since run three times winning twice and finishing third in the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices' Hurdle at Haydock.

Beyond The Festival

The Russell stable has plenty to look forward to beyond The Festival with many young horses on the ground and one particularly of note is the progressive chaser Corrigeen Rock. The seven-year-old son of Westerner has been a prolific performer recording five wins and three seconds over fences and landing the Scottish Champion Chase last time out at Musselburgh. Owned by The Caledonian Racing Society, connections are looking ahead to Punchestown Festival as a potential target given a right-handed track is key to his success.

Scudamore reported: “When you’re going to the sales you are buying a dream. We bought Corrigeen Rock for a club [The Caledonian Racing Society] at Tattersalls. He is just one of those dreams, he is honest and he’s tough. The people have had so much fun out of it.

“If you want money, don’t buy a National Hunt horse! If you want fun, there are ups and downs but there is tremendous fun in it. It makes me so proud that a horse such as Corrigeen Rock at reasonable value has given such pleasure to so many people."

Corrigeen Rock was a £50,000 Tattersalls Cheltenham Mixed April Sale purchase by Russell and McIvor from Denis Murphy’s Ballyboy Stables.

Purchased at the last Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale, the team really like what they have seen of Mountain Molly at home

Mountain Molly to make Rules debut

Amongst the most recent horses purchased at Tattersalls Cheltenham a notable mention was given to the Irish point-to-point winner Mountain Molly, who was purchased at the Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale by Russell and McIvor for £85,000 from James Doyle’s Baltimore House Stables. The daughter of Mount Nelson is a half-sister to the progressive dual hurdles winner and Russell-trained De Legislator, and she is yet to make her debut for the Kinross-based stable.

“We were drawn to her and knew she was running in her Irish point-to-point as she is De Legislator eho is a horse we have huge hopes for," recalled Russell. "He has just injured himself so won’t run again this season but he’s a horse we absolutely love, we think he could be a proper staying chaser.

“When Mountain Molly came through the ring we were delighted and again, I think we bought her quite well. She has worked really well at home and will run in a bumper soon – I really like her.”

St Olan's Well: the next Corach Rambler?

The final horse to note is the Ballyknock Stables-consigned, £80,000 Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale purchase St Olan’s Well, who has shown similarities to his talented Cheltenham Festival and Grand National-winning stablemate Corach Rambler.

“He has the same temperament as Corach Rambler. He has got a lot of ability and is working really nicely at home. We’re very pleased with him," said Russell. “Can he be the next Corach Rambler? I don’t know. I don’t think anything can really be another Corach Rambler but if St Olan’s Well got close to it, I would be delighted.”