Gordon Elliott is going all out in his attempt to win a remarkable fifth consecutive Troytown Chase at Navan on Sunday, as
the Grand National and Gold Cup-winning trainer sends out 12 of the 25 declared runners.
Elliott won his local race for the first time with Balbriggan in 2014, and has since added to his tally with Riverside Theatre, Empire Of Dirt and Mala Beach respectively.
This year’s renewal of the 100,000 euro Ladbrokes-sponsored contest is headed by three Elliott-trained runners in Dounikos (Liam McKenna), Irish Grand National hero General Principle (Keith Donoghue) and Cork Grand National winner Out Sam (Davy Russell).
The Cullentra dozen is completed by Rogue Angel (Paul Townend), Squouateur (Barry Geraghty), Woods Well (Donagh Meyler), Space Cadet (Bryan Cooper), Timiyan (Mark Walsh), Our Father (Brian Hayes), Poormans Hill (Andrew Ring), Ned Stark (Jonathan Moore) and Swingbridge (Mark Enright).
Presenting Julio is another potential Elliott runner on the reserve list.
Elliott’s great rival Willie Mullins relies on the Ruby Walsh-ridden Minella Beau. Mullins also has second reserve Undressed.
Minella Beau was favourite for the Cork Grand National three weeks ago and was still in contention when falling three fences from home.
The champion trainer’s brother, Tom Mullins, also has a leading contender in Spider Web, winner of the Munster National at Limerick last month.
He said: “Spider Web is all set to go. We decided shortly after the Munster National this would be the handiest way to go with his mark and we’re very happy with him going into the race.
“I’m hoping he’ll still be competitive off his mark.
“He’s got a nice racing weight and we’re confident of a big run.”
Spider Web’s stablemate Grand Partner also takes his chance, sneaking in at the very bottom of the weights.
Mullins added: “He ran very well in Punchestown the other day and he’s been in good form since.
“He’s won around Navan over hurdles and he has the lowest weight in the race at the moment.
“I hope he has a strong each-way chance.”
Gigginstown House Stud have seven representatives in total, including Noel Meade’s Tout Est Permis, a winner last time out at Galway.
Meade, who won the 1997 renewal with Heist, said: “Tout Est Permis won a handicap at Galway. He carried top-weight that day and he was very good.
“We thought going to the races that he would be good and he was, and since he’s come back he’s done nothing but do things right. I’d like to see an ease in the ground – I think that would suit him quite well.
“He’s not a huge horse, but touch wood he jumps well.”
Other hopefuls in the final field include Jessica Harrington’s Magic Of Light, who runs for the first time since winning at the Punchestown Festival in April, and the Peter Fahey-trained Mine Now.
Padraig Roche’s Neddyvaughan would be an interesting runner if getting a run as first reserve.
He is officially one pound out of the handicap, but has been in excellent form recently and represents a yard in flying form.