Goonyella can land Troytown spoils
AP McCOY will partner the joint top-weighted Colbert Station in the €100,000 Ladbrokes Troytown Chase when he travels to Navan for a second time in two weeks tomorrow.
The irrepressible Antrim native's Ted Walsh-trained mount is still lightly raced over fences after just seven starts, and he will strip fitter for a recent pipe-opener over flights.
Off a 1lb higher mark, last year's winner Tofino Bay shares the 11st 10lb burden under Davy Russell.
Tofino Bay's handler Dessie Hughes could also have a big say with the 2012 Munster and Cork National hero Raz De Maree, while Robbie McNally gets the chance to cap an unlikely comeback following Keith Donoghue's split with Gordon Elliott aboard recent Aintree scorer Jamsie Hall.
It is Goonyella, however, that is fancied to plunder the prestigious 20-runner handicap.
Representing Jim Dreaper and Andrew Lynch (right), this Presenting six-year-old has progressed since landing three point-to-points and a hunter chase.
Placed in two decent hunter chases in the New Year, he wasn't quite ready for the arduous demands of the Irish Grand National, but he then bounced back to thwart Vesper Bell and Wise Oscar at Punchestown in April.
On his reappearance, Goonyella ran a blinder to push the in-form and race-fit Count Salazar hard at Galway under his regular amateur rider, when the subsequent Cork National runner-up Unoccupied was back in third.
Over an inadequate trip, that was a fine effort, so he should be capable of defying a 4lb penalty here over a more suitable three-mile journey.
Earlier on what is a cracking card, there is a raft of tall reputations on the line when eight last-time-out winners clash in the Monksfield Novice Hurdle.
McCoy is aboard Aidan O'Brien's unbeaten four-year-old hurdler Carriganog, with Paul Fahey's impressive Cork Grade Three scorer Lots Of Memories conceding weight all round.
Of Willie Mullins' two, Ruby Walsh rides Alelchi Inois, but it is Azorian, one of three declared to run in the Gigginstown House Stud colours, that is preferred.
At Cork last time, Eoin Griffin's Westerner five-year-old overcame running a bit green when having to make all his own running to draw 21 lengths clear in grand style on his hurdle bow.
That confirmed his enormous potential, so he is trusted to take this step up in class now.
Walsh and Mullins can take the beginners' chase with Ballycasey. McCoy will surely have a big say in this aboard Noel Meade's Ned Buntline, but Ballycasey has always looked an embryonic chaser, so he gets the nod to just shade it over an inadequate two-mile trip.
The same all-conquering partnership should also win the opening maiden hurdle with the exciting Moyle Park, while the nap vote falls to Paul Nolan's Sweeney Tunes in the Proudstown Handicap Hurdle.
Like last year's winner Roi Du Mee, this Gigginstown runner gets in off a mark that is very favourable compared to its chase rating, and the booking of the peerless 5lb claimer Jane Mangan brings the theoretical advantage to a full 25lb.