Tofino Bay in ‘good shape’ for Ladbrokes Troytown Chase
Dessie Hughes-trained star got better of Like Your Style in a close finish to big handicap in 2012
Tofino Bay: goes for back-to-back victories in Sunday’s highlight at Navan, the €100,000 Ladbrokes Troytown Chase.
It’s over a decade since Lyreen Wonder last completed back-to-back wins in Navan’s prestigious Ladbrokes Troytown Chase but Tofino Bay is set to try and bridge that gap and double up in this Sunday’s €100,000 feature.
The Dessie Hughes-trained star got the better of Like Your Style in a memorably close finish to the big handicap in 2012 and Tofino Bay is likely to be joined by his stable companion Raz De Maree.
Both the Hughes runners are among only seven horses currently rated above 11st ahead of today’s five-day stage, with the Galway Plate hero Carlingford Lough topweight, but that isn’t dissuading the Curragh trainer from again targeting the lucrative three-mile pot.
“I’d say it’s possible that both will run. Tofino Bay won the race last year and with rain likely and the likelihood of soft ground, I’d like to run him,” he said yesterday. “Raz De Maree hasn’t run so far this year as he hasn’t had his ground, but he should get it at the weekend. They are both in good shape.”
Rich Revival was a major fancy for last season’s Irish Grand National only to be pulled up. However, trainer Liz Doyle believes the horse still has a major handicap pot in him.
“We’d be looking for heavy ground for him. He excels on deep winter ground and in a race like that you want everything in your favour. He is in great form,” she said.
“He’s been in training for a while, he has had his gallop and he is good first time out. This race has been the plan for a while. He likes to go left handed and he has already won around Navan. He jumps great and he should have a nice weight - we just need a bit of rain,” Doyle added.
Ted Walsh won the Troytown in 2004 with Jack High and is likely to pitch Colbert Station into the race this time.
“The Troytown is the obvious place to go. He is not good enough for the better races and off 147, there aren’t many places to go with a horse like him. He’ll have close enough to top weight and at nine years of age, I wouldn’t have thought that he’d improve a great deal.
“But if he maintains his form from last year and jumps around well he’ll win another race along the line,” he said.
Jim Dreaper has also committed the lightly-weighted Goonyella to the race and reported: “He just got a bit tired on his first run back at Galway, but he should come on for that. It is the bit after three miles that you’ll see the best of him, but Navan is a tough track and he’ll have his chance. Long term, he could be a Welsh, English or Irish National horse.”
The hurdles highlight at Navan on Sunday will be the Grade Two Monksfield Novice Hurdle which could be the next port-of-call for the exciting Azorian who won impressively on his jumping debut at Cork.
The Westerner gelding won by 21 lengths and trainer Eoin Griffin said yesterday: “He has come out of Cork in great form and he looks a very nice prospect. He’ll be entered for Sunday and I’ll have a chat with Eddie O’Leary later on this week to see what he wants to do.”
O’Leary has a major input into the Gigginstown Stud operation of his brother Michael and he will also be consulted by Gordon Elliott about where Don Cossack will appear next. The former top bumper performer was narrowly beaten by Morning Assembly at Punchestown on Sunday. “He ran a great race. He was beaten half a length by a Grade One winner on his second run over fences so you have to be very happy with him. We’ll see how he is and then decide whether to go for the Drinmore or not.”