Meade looks set to rely on Bonny Kate for Navan glory
Noel Meade looks set to rely on Bonny Kate in the Troytown Chase at Navan on Sunday as he bids to win the Ladbrokes-backed handicap race for the first time since successful in 1997 with Heist.
Bonny Kate recorded three wins on the bounce last season before being sent off 13-2 favourite for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National, in which she was pulled up.
The six-year-old has already proven her stamina, as she won over three and a half miles at Punchestown in January, and Meade could not be happier with her.
He said on Tuesday: “At the moment it looks like she'll be my only runner. We have Killer Miller in the race as well but he could run at Gowran Park on Saturday instead.
“Bonny Kate loves a test of stamina, jumps well, and the Troytown has been on her radar for a while. It looks a nice place to start her off.”
Gigginstown House Stud are responsible for eight of the 47 entries in the Troytown after Tuesday's forfeit stage, and racing manager Eddie O’Leary revealed Cheltenham Festival winner Empire Of Dirt could lead the team’s challenge.
“We'd like to run Empire Of Dirt but his weight would be a bit of a worry,” O’Leary said.
"I'll have to talk to Gordon [Elliott] and Michael [O’Leary] first. Empire Of Dirt was travelling really well in the race in front when he came down at the third-last 12 months ago.
“We're leaning towards running him in the Troytown but nothing's set in stone. We should have a few runners in the race.”
Empire Of Dirt is also engaged in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday, as is Gigginstown's Wounded Warrior, but he is set to run at Thurles on Thursday instead.
O’Leary issued an upbeat bulletin on Petit Mouchoir in advance of the Grade 1 stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday. The Henry de Bromhead-trained five-year-old is an intended runner, but a decision has yet to be made on the participation of Apple’s Jade.
O’Leary said: “Petit Mouchoir definitely runs in the Fighting Fifth but Apple’s Jade is 50-50. Gordon [Elliott] is pleased with her and she should be better when she gets softer ground and steps up in trip. It’s between the Fighting Fifth or Hatton’s Grace Hurdle for her.”
Dual Grade 1-winning novice hurdler Bellshill could make his chasing debut this weekend as the Andrea and Graham Wylie-owned six-year-old has entries at Gowran Park on Saturday and Navan on Sunday.