Gordon Elliott is targeting Cheltenham after scoring his first winner since serving a six-month ban.
The trainer, who was suspended because of a photo of him sitting on a dead horse, saddled Fancy Foundations to win at Sligo.
Expelled from the event favorite in the betting market for the 2m4½f pursuit, Denis O’Regan’s steed remained strong and crossed the line four lengths ahead.
Elliott, out of luck with his first runner since March 8 on Tuesday’s Flat card in Punchestown, said he would target Fancy Foundations at Cheltenham’s first reunion of the season.
He won the Coaching Title twice, for taking home the most winners, at the Festival in March – exactly six months away.
Elliott told the Racing Post: “We thought we came here today with some good luck. It didn’t happen for The Sliding Rock in the first one, but Fancy Foundations was good. He was a little enthusiastic in a tactical race but Denis gave him a good lap and he jumped well.
“This is great for its owners Andrew and Gemma Brown who are great supporters of the yard. I am delighted to collect my first winner for them. We will probably be going to Cheltenham in October for a novice hunt. Andrew and Gemma are all together. both from England, so we’ll try to go there so they can have a little fun. ”
Elliott received a 12-month ban, half of which has been suspended, after an image of him sitting on the carcass of hurdle winner Morgan was posted on social media.
Also ordered to pay costs of € 15,000, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board said its sanction reflected “the gravity of the infringement and the damage caused to the Irish racing industry”.
During Elliott’s time away from the racetrack, Denise Foster took temporary control of her Cullentra House stables in County Meath.
Elliott was due to return to the scoreboard in race one on Wednesday, with 8-13 favorite The Sliding Rock.
However, she could not finish better than third in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase after making a jump error.
Silver Star and Imperial Sachin’s also weren’t lucky later in the program – and Fancy Foundations was their last runner of the day.
Among the stable entries for the next few days is Cheltenham Festival winner Galvin.
Moved to coach Ian Ferguson ahead of the big March reunion, the seven-year-old is back with Elliott having extended his winning streak to five in the Novice Pursuit of the Sam Vestey National Hunt Challenge Cup.
Co-second favorite for next April’s Grand National at 25-1, Galvin could make his seasonal comeback on Sunday in the Kerry Group Chase at Listowel.