In many ways, Delta Work has become the villain of the piece in horse racing. Having denied stablemate Tiger Roll the perfect send-off to his career in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham last month, it’s clear that Delta Work is not a horse to stand on ceremony, and with the Grand National fast approaching, trainer Gordon Elliott will be eyeing up a memorable double for his horse.
The win in the Cross Country was one of the highlights of the entire Cheltenham Festival, as both Delta Work and Tiger Roll battled it out in the wind and the rain. It was the kind of epic tussle that has become synonymous with the Festival, and the fact that Delta Work came out on top means he can be found at odds of around 8/1 in the Grand National odds 2022.
In many ways, it was strange for the winning horse to receive so little adulation after such a titanic victory as Delta Work’s in the Cross Country Chase, but Elliott had no regrets about entering the nine-year-old, despite the fact that he spoiled Tiger Roll’s party.
“If I was here today and the ground went that soft and I didn’t have Delta Work running I would have been absolutely puking,” the trainer said. “The wrong horse won and it would have been a dream come true if Tiger had won, but he did us proud and Tiger Roll made the race what it was. I wanted Tiger to win, I really did but, look, Delta Work won and it was a great race.”
Now, the question is whether Delta Work can build on that triumph and go one better by winning the Grand National. Before Cheltenham, his record made for grim reading, but his win on that rain-soaked Wednesday at Prestbury Park has given many horse racing fans hope that Delta Work is not done yet.
Of course, the Grand National presents a totally different challenge, although it must be said that the early predictions for soft ground could play into Delta Work’s hands. After all, it was arguably the conditions that allowed him to give such a stunning performance at Cheltenham. If Aintree gets a bit of a soaking before Saturday, then Elliott might well fancy Delta Work’s chances.
Even in spite of the win at Prestbury Park last month, it’s hard to look at Delta Work’s record over the last few years without feeling apprehensive about his true chances in the Grand National. Prior to last month, he hadn’t won a race in over two years, with seven disappointing performances in that time.
But perhaps the Cheltenham victory will be enough to inject some life into the nine-year-old, and indeed into Elliott himself, who may have felt at his wit’s end as far as Delta Work’s performances were concerned.
The Irish trainer has a staggering number of entries in this year’s Grand National, but you can’t help but feel as though Delta Work is his best shot at getting the win. It will take a similarly seismic performance for the Cross Country Chase winner to triumph once again, but you wouldn’t put it past Delta Work to produce yet more drama.