Denise Foster

Irish handler Denise Foster is a trainer in her own right but hit the headlines back in 2021 when she became the handler in charge of the entire Gordon Elliott string when he was banned from horse racing for six months.

Foster had her own yard at the time, with around 20 horses, and had limited success at a lower level. For that reason, many had never heard of her up until she took over the Elliott team, but after that happened, her name was undoubtedly wider known in racing circles.

During the ban for Elliott, Foster took over the reins at both the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National meeting. She would have four runners in the 2021 Grand National, with the best of those being Farclas, ridden by Jack Kennedy, and he would finish fifth.

It is unlikely that Foster will have a runner of her own capable of running again in the Grand National, so unless something else big happens to Elliott, she is likely to end with a Grand National record of no wins from four runners, all in the same year.

Denise Foster Grand National Wins

Denise Foster has never trained a horse that has won the Grand National.

Their best finish to date was in 2021 with Farclas ridden by Jack Kennedy who came 5th.

Full Results

Year Horse Result Prize Money Jockey
2021 Farclas 5 £40,000 Jack Kennedy
2021 Shattered Love 10 £5,000 Kevin Sexton
2021 Alpha Des Obeaux 11 - Jody McGarvey
2021 Milan Native Fence 29 - Pulled Up - Jamie Codd

Gordon Elliott Banned from Racing for Six Months

In 2021, a photo emerged showing Gordon Elliott sitting on top of a dead horse on his gallops at home, which led to an inquiry and a big talking point in racing. The end result of that inquiry was that Gordon Elliott would be banned from racing for six months, but his horses would still be allowed to run for different trainers.

Some moved, but the remainder stayed in the yard, but with a different name over the top of it, and that would be Denise Foster. A trainer local to Elliott, she took over the running of the yard through two of the busiest weeks of the year, the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National meeting.

It is believed that pretty much everything in the yard remained the same, with Elliott still having the overall say in what was happening on a day-to-day basis with the runners. But the name on the racecard was that of Foster’s, she was the one listed as the winning trainer on the occasions when the yard had a winner.

The Grand National was not one of those, but she did have winners at the Cheltenham Festival. After the suspension, Elliott returned to training in the yard, and Foster returned to her own stable.