Ryan relishing underdog status ahead of Icantsay's Troytown bid
John Ryan remains confident that Icantsay can carry the underdog status to victory in Sunday's Troytown Chase at Navan despite most of the pre-race chat surrounding whether Gordon Elliott can land his fourth straight victory in the race or if Acapella Bourgeois will win on debut for Willie Mullins.
Icantsay proved his staying abilities when winning a 2m6f handicap hurdle from the front under Danny Mullins earlier this month, not seeing another rival throughout, and Ryan has been happy with the seven-year-old ever since.
He said: “Icantsay is just a savage horse to gallop. If he gets into any sort of a rhythm, he’s a very hard horse to peg back and he can be a hard horse to keep tabs with as he keeps going and doesn’t stop.
“He’s huge as well – over 17 hands high – and he jumps fences well. I wasn’t surprised one bit when kept going from the front last time out over hurdles and hopefully he can do something similar.
“All of the big boys are well-represented but that wouldn’t perturb me in the slightest and, off a nice racing weight, I’d give him a great chance.”
Gordon Elliott, successful with Empire Of Dirt, Riverside City and Balbriggan in the past three renewals, was responsible for six of the seven winners on the card 12 months ago and has eight of the 33 entries in this year's feature.
Commenting on his Sunday running plans, he said: “The race has been very lucky for us throughout the past few seasons and we’d love to win it again. We’ve eight entered at the minute and we’ll try and run as many as we can.”
A Genie In Abottle currently heads the weights for Noel Meade, who has also entered Bonny Kate and Wounded Warrior, but the handler revealed that a decision will be made on the topweight’s participation later in the week as the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury was also on the agenda.
He said: “A Genie In Abottle would certainly like it soft and maybe the Troytown is the right place to go, but he’s also in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury the following weekend and we’ll make a decision about where he runs later in the week.
“Wounded Warrior will definitely run at Navan and I’d imagine that Bonny Kate will also be in the mix. It couldn’t be soft enough for her as well and she’s in tremendous form at home.”
Meanwhile, Elliott admits that he is leaning towards running the unbeaten Samcro in the Grade 3 Monksfield Novice Hurdle, a race he won last season with Death Duty.
He concluded: “All being well, that’s the plan [to run]. He won his maiden hurdle nicely over two miles and sure he’s won his point-to-point, so stepping up to 2m4f on Sunday should be fine. We think he’s a very nice horse.”