Elliott bids for a hat-trick with record 11 runners
Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase | Grade B | 3m | 4yo+ ATR
Gordon Elliott has left no stone unturned as he bids to record his third successive victory in the Troytown Chase at Navan. The County Meath trainer first won this prize in 2014 with Balbriggan before following up that success 12 months ago with Riverside City - who didn't make the cut for this year's renewal - and he is mob-handed with 11 runners in this year's showpiece.
It's the most runners the 38-year-old has saddled in a single race, and the figure eclipses his former mentor Martin Pipe who ran a staggering ten horses in the 2001 Aintree Grand National.
Ante-post favourite Noble Endeavor appears to be the handler's first string, while Empire Of Dirt, Akorakor, Captain Von Trappe and Killer Crow will sport the maroon and white of Gigginstown House Stud.
The powerful owners may have to invest in some new hats this weekend, as they will also be represented by the Mouse Morris-trained Folsom Blue and Thunder And Roses.
What they say
Gordon Elliott, trainer of Noble Endeavor, Cause Of Causes, Empire Of Dirt, Bless The Wings, Realt Mor, Shadow Catcher, Mountain King, Woodford Island, Akorakor, Captain Von Trappe and Killer Crow.
Noble Endeavor looks like he has a nice weight on his back and he looks like he has got a good chance. He was second in a Grade 2 hurdle and has some good runs under his belt over fences as well. He has plenty of experience, and with a bit of luck, he won’t be far away.
Cause Of Causes has to carry top weight but he ran well the last day. He will love the ground and is in great form.
Empire Of Dirt was running a big race in this 12 months ago when he came down three fences from the finish. He has plenty of weight again, which won't be ideal, but he has won a Leopardstown Chase as well as winning the Plate at Cheltenham. He is the class horse in the race.
Bless The Wings has been a great servant and obviously finished second in the Irish National last season. He is in good condition.
The trip would be a worry for Realt Mor, but on his day he is a very classy horse. We will drop him out and get him settled and just try and ride him to be placed.
If Shadow Catcher could produce a similar run to what he showed in the Galway Plate he would have a chance.
Mountain King is working very well and if he stays the trip he has a chance.
He is only a novice, but Woodford Island deserves his chance, and he was going well behind A Toi Phil at Down Royal before falling.
Akorakor also ran well for a long way at Cork after a long layoff but made a mistake. With the freshness out of him, he should be a good bit fitter again.
Captain Von Trappe was disappointing the last day but hopefully we will see a better horse today, and with Killer Crow, he has always looked capable of winning a staying handicap chase. He is frustrating because on his homework you would fancy him to pop up one of these days but it's hard to trust him. I wouldn't be able to pick one horse over the other and they all deserve their chance.
Noel Meade, trainer of Killer Miller and Bonny Kate
I am very happy with both of mine. Bonny Kate stays and jumps well and the Troytown test should be what she wants. She might like the ground a bit softer, but she is very well and we are hopeful. The same applies for Killer Miller. It’s also his first run of the year but he is in good form. My only worry for him is that he is very inexperienced for a race like this as he has only had the two runs over fences.