Tag Archive for: Troytown

Elliott stands by Troytown team

Gordon Elliott has defended the number of runners he had in Navan’s Troytown Chase on Sunday after reiterating his desire to one day be crowned Ireland’s champion trainer.

Elliott ended up seeing 14 of his Cullentra House battalion face the starter for the  €100,000 handicap and saddled four of the first five home with 20-1 shot Coko Beach scooping the big pot for Gigginstown House Stud.

It is a contest Elliott has enjoyed great success in down the years and having been responsible for nearly three-quarters of the final field of 20, he simply believes he is doing what is best for both the horses in his yard and their owners by targeting the race.

Gordon Elliott with jockey Danny Gilligan and Coko Beach after winning the Troytown at Navan
Gordon Elliott with jockey Danny Gilligan and Coko Beach after winning the Troytown at Navan (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I started with nothing and didn’t get handed anything, I’ve worked for everything I’ve got,” explained Elliott.

“We didn’t stop any horse running in the race, the race didn’t fill and I think if I only run one or two horses then there might only be eight or nine in the race.

“I think for a €100,000 race, for Bar One who are sponsoring the race and for Navan, it would be embarrassing if there is only eight or nine runners in it.

“All my owners are paying training fees and entry fees and they want to run, so I don’t think I have anyone to answer to. All I want to do is do my best for every horse and every owner.”

Gordon Elliott currently tops the Irish trainers' championship
Gordon Elliott currently tops the Irish trainers’ championship (Brian Lawless/PA)

Coko Beach brought up winner 115 for the season for Elliott with American Mike’s impressive chasing debut quickly taking that total to 116.

He currently stands €500,000 ahead of his great rival Willie Mullins at the head of the standings in Ireland and although still dreaming of a first title, concedes his priorities have changed since his well-documented ban in 2021, with his focus firmly on training as many winners as possible..

“If you had asked me about that two or three years ago, it was all I would have thought about,” he said about the title.

“If you ask me my ambition in life, it is to be champion trainer, but I probably look at life a little different now to how I did before what happened (the ban).

“It’s what I want to do and what I would love to do and my aim in life, but you look at things and people a lot different.”

When asked about his current motivation, he added: “Winners. I’m probably selfish and all I care about is training winners. It’s not ideal sometimes but I love what I do.

“I love training winners. I worked for a man called Martin Pipe and he loved it and I’m probably unfortunate that I was born in the same era as a man called Willie Mullins.

“Willie makes us all better and hungrier and I just like to do my best and keep him honest.”

Although realistic about his own title ambitions, Cullentra House number one Jack Kennedy has a real chance of getting his hands on a first title having partnered 60 winners so far this term.

Jockey Jack Kennedy (right) and his boss Gordon Elliott
Jockey Jack Kennedy (right) and his boss Gordon Elliott (Brian Lawless/PA)

That puts him 18 clear of nearest rival Paul Townend and Elliott believes he is in a great position to remain on top spot until the end of the season.

“I would love to see Jack Kennedy be champion jockey and I think it’s going to happen some day,” said Elliott.

“Whether that is this year, next year or the year after I don’t know. Just looking he has 60 winners already and I think last year when he had the fall he had 77 winners during the first week in January.

“It looks like he is ahead of last year and it looks like he is in a better position than last year to be honest.

“Last time he always had to worry about Davy Russell and now he is first jockey and has the pick of everything. I’m sure it will be something he would love to do anyway.”

‘Deserved’ day in the sun for Coko Beach in Troytown

The likeable grey Coko Beach put in a neat round of jumping to land the Bar One Racing Troytown Handicap Chase for Danny Gilligan and Gordon Elliott – who had 14 of the 20 starters in the Navan feature.

The eight-year-old was always handy in the three-mile affair, with Gilligan’s 5lb claim easing the 11st 10lb burden he was required to carry off what was nearly a career-high mark of 153.

He ran a rhythmical race and met each fence well, easing into contention as the race developed and eventually staying on best of all to win by two and a quarter lengths from Gavin Cromwell’s 4-1 favourite Limerick Lace.

As a result he was introduced to the Grand National market at a price of 33-1 with Coral and cut to the same price from 50-1 with Betfair.

“He’s a great horse and we’re lucky to have him. He’s been knocking on the door in all those races, so he deserved to win one,” said Elliott.

“Jack (Kennedy) actually kind of wanted to ride him, but I wanted to claim off him and thank God I did. Danny is a great little rider and it’s a valuable 5lb.

“I thought it was a good race to watch. It was helter-skelter the whole way, they went a good gallop and all horses seemed to be home safe.

“He’s a bit of a boyo at home, he’s just a character. He had a good run in Limerick the last day.

“In the past he hasn’t been that strong of a finisher, he’s often faded out from the last home.

“We’ll probably head for a National with him, the Paddy Power would be a bit quick. He probably likes soft ground. He could also go for the Thyestes.

“He has schooled over cross-country and we won’t rule that out either.”

On running a huge team of horses, he added: “Thank God I won it anyway! We have to support these races, if I didn’t run in it there would only have been seven runners (at declaration time).

“It’s massively important for Navan racecourse, for the sponsors Bar One and for Irish racing that these races are full.

“I’ll support them and so will my owners. I don’t know if it’s the type of slow horses that I buy, but I seem to have a lot of them!”

Elliott mob-handed in Troytown

It will be a major shock if Gordon Elliott does not win the Bar One Racing Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan on Sunday, as he fields 15 of the 21 remaining runners.

Elliott is gunning for a sixth win since 2014 in what is traditionally one of the hottest handicap chases of the season in Ireland.

The Cullentra handler makes no secret of the fact he loves winning the feature race at his local track, and this year he is going all out.

Elliott will have to be at his diplomatic best with six different sets of owners to keep happy and he might do well to spare a thought for the commentator, with Gigginstown House Stud fielding nine runners – following the defection of Noel Meade’s Idas Boy.

Stable jockey Jack Kennedy has chosen to ride 2021 winner Run Wild Fred, with Sam Ewing on Hollow Games and Ricky Doyle on Gevrey looking three of his stronger chances.

The only other trainers involved are Meade with Thedevilscoachman, Henry de Bromhead with Ain’t That A Shame, Watch House Cross and Largy Debut, Colm Murphy with Macs Charm and Gavin Cromwell, who is represented by Limerick Lace.

“It’s a competitive race and we have lots of chances, so hopefully one hits the board,” said Elliott.

“It’s a 100,000 euros race and it’s a big staying race.

“You would have to say Hollow Games and Run Wild Fred look the best two and Dunboyne would have a chance.

“Hopefully, one of them will hit the board.”