Groody Hill won a thrilling finish to the Ladbrokes.com Troytown Chase at Navan, finishing with an astonishing flourish to catch Ad Idem in the last couple of strides of the three-mile event.
Alan Crowe, riding the Christy Roche-trained for owner JP McManus, persuaded the grey to deliver a power-packed finish, making up nearly 10 lengths from the last fence. Groody Hill won by half a length and started at 10-1. The runner-up, Ad Idem, was also 10-1 with the third, Cross Appeal, 12-1 and fourth, Some Target, another at 10-1. Chris Corrigan
Today’s best bets, by Greg Wood
Leicester has borne the brunt of the Horsemen’s Group’s criticism of some tracks over prize money levels, most recently when it appeared on a list of “pariah” courses that the HG considers to be beneath contempt (and would, presumably, be happy to see go out of business). Greedy and misguided though the Group’s opinions are, however, a card like the one at the track today does little to advance Leicester’s cause.
With the chases all abandoned earlier in the week due to unsuitably fast ground, and what remains is as thin in terms of excitement as jump racing ever gets. Castlerock (nap 3.45) has a decent chance, while up at Carlisle, Lockstown (2.25) should take the handicap chase, but the only place to go for some competitive racing today is Ireland.
The Monksfield Novice Hurdle at Navan comes early in the day, but it is an interesting race with three very useful prospects in opposition. Unusually, this is a Grade Two without a runner from the Willie Mullins yard, but his jockey Ruby Walsh looks the man to back on Rebel Fitz. Michael Winters’ gelding is the outsider of the main three contenders, and gives 3lb to his six opponents, but is a tough competitor with form in the book that gives him every chance.
The main betting event is the Troytown Chase, one of the key three-mile handicaps of the Irish season, with 25 runners due to face the starter and, no doubt, quite a few trainers feeling that a long-term plan is about to be realised.
Given the number of horses that will have been pointed very carefully towards this race, it is a little surprising to find Prince De Beauchene, the top weight, heading the market too. He does represent Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh, though, and is also making his debut for the yard having moved from Howard Johnson when he lost his licence.
Several ex-Johnson horses have shown improvement for a change of scenery, but it is still asking a great deal for any horse to give weight away all round in a race like this. Only one horse in the last 10 years has carried more than 10st 7lb to victory, and Wicklow Lad (2.20) looks a better bet.
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