Tofino Bay lasts home in thrilling Troytown Chase
Report: Sunday, Navan
Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase 3m, 4yo+
TOFINO BAY dug deep close home to fend off the strong challenge of Like Your Style to land this valuable contest for trainer Dessie Hughes and jockey Davy Russell, who dropped his whip inside the final furlong.
Tofino Bay moved to the front with one fence to jump, but he was forced to work hard by Like Your Style (9-1), who found plenty for pressure under a never-say-die ride from multiple British champion Tony McCoy.
But the line came too soon and Tofino Bay, advised at 10-1 by Pricewise in Sunday's Racing Post, had enough in reserve under reigning Irish champion Russell to score at 8-1.
Russell dropped his whip on the long slog for home and resorted to encouraging his mount with his right hand. The jockey gave Tofino Bay at least five stern reminders, which ultimately made the crucial difference between victory and defeat.
"I suppose you could call that improvising," said Russell. "My reins got tangled up bypassing the last fence and I lost my whip. My hand is in bits - I have bruises all over it."
Tofino Bay swept past long-time leader Glenquest (10-1) after the final fence (usual second-last fence) before he began to tread water.
McCoy's mount Like Your Style, trained by Eddie Harty, picked up strongly but he failed to bridge the diminishing deficit by half a length.
"He travelled so well through the race but I was keen not to hit the front too early," said Russell.
The Gordon Elliott-trained Romanesco, sent off 9-2 favourite under Ruby Walsh, looked menacing with two fences to jump but weakened tamely up the home straight.
Glenquest kept on doggedly to take third ahead of Jadanli (25-1).
According the winning trainer, next year's John Smith's Grand National at Aintree is not on Tofino Bay's agenda.
Hughes said: "It's his first season chasing and I think that would be too big of an ask. Perhaps next season we might look at it for him but not this one. We'll try pick up another nice handicap somewhere with him now."