'Notorious' to fore as Elliott has four-timer
Gordon Elliott wrapped up a Grade Two brace at Navan with Diamond Cauchois and Monbeg Notorious as he secured a four-timer at the County Meath track.
Monbeg Notorious followed up his Thyestes Chase success with a narrow call over stablemate Mossback in the Ten Up Novice Chase, with the pair putting themselves in the picture for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National.
They had the four-runner affair between them in the closing stages and it was Monbeg Notorious (5/4 favourite) who spearheaded a one-two for owners Gigginstown House Stud, as he got home by half a length under teenage sensation Jack Kennedy.
Moulin A Vent set out to make all but was a sitting duck for the Elliott duo, who pounced with two fences left.
Monbeg Notorious (5/4 favourite) led before the last, but in the end was all out under Jack Kennedy to prevail by half a length. Moulin A Vent was left 19 lengths away in third.
Elliott said: "They are two grand honest galloping horses - big staying chasers. They are both in the Irish Grand National and we'll see what happens. They wouldn't want firm ground."
Diamond Cauchois (4/6 favourite) strode home nine lengths clear of Gigginstown's Lieutenant Colonel under Davy Russell in the Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle to set up the big-race double.
Rank outsider Maggio took them along in the Grade Two contest before being tackled on either side by Diamond Cauchois and Bapaume as they turned for home.
Elliott's 4/6 favourite mastered Bapaume after jumping two out, with Willie Mullins' runner stopping quite quickly and Diamond Cauchois stormed home to score by nine lengths, with Lieutenant Colonel catching Bapaume for second.
Elliott said: ''He's a grand horse and loves that soft ground. The ground will probably decide where we go with him, but he's won two good pots for us this year so we are very happy.''
Russell was also aboard Lackaneen Leader (5/4 favourite), which followed up a win at Fairyhouse earlier this month in the P.S. Supplies Doors & Floors Mares Handicap Hurdle.
"She is a nice, honest mare who just keeps galloping. She will jump a fence in time, too," said Elliott. "She has got a nice pedigree so it's job done. Davy said she was keen enough early, but the further she went the better she was."
The Lisa O'Neill-ridden, Gigginstown-owned Master Of Tara (5/2) rounded off another fine afternoon for Elliott with victory in the bumper.
Elliott said: "He's a big baby and a horse for next year. I wouldn't imagine that he will do much more this year. He's a nice horse.
"It's been a brilliant day, it's testament to the horses I have, the owners and the staff."
Drumconnor Lad (4/6 favourite) broke his duck over fences with a hard-fought triumph from Elliott's Robin Des Mana in the Race Displays Event Signage Rated Novice Chase.
Despite having just the two previous starts in this sphere under his belt, Adrian Keatley's eight-year-old was sent off the 4/6 favourite in a four-runner field that was taken along by the considerably more experienced Robin Des Mana.
Drumconnor Lad progressed to touch down over three out in a share of the lead, only for Robin Des Mana to go on again. However, Drumconnor Lad battled back for Mark Walsh to pass the post three-parts of a length to the good.
Keatley said of his eight-year-old: "I'm happy with that. The trip was a little bit short for him but when we saw the race, we couldn't turn away the opportunity. The conditions suited him as he hadn't got a rating yet.
"We'll be looking forward to him when the ground gets a bit nicer. It was slow-motion stuff out there today and when they crossed the line, they nearly stopped to a standstill.
"I'm delighted to get him to win and hopefully there is a good pot in him in the spring."
Noel Meade's Dis Donc (4/1) registered a deserved victory in the opening maiden hurdle, keeping going well for Sean Flanagan to repel the late rally of Antey by a neck.
Meade observed: "He might not like to be in front too long, but I think he might like better ground as well. When he won in France, it was on fast ground."
Justice Ears blazed a trail in the testing conditions. However, the leader's race was over when he was swamped three out, with Dis Donc and Antey going on.
Avellino wasn't far away until a slight error at the last put paid to her chance, and Dis Donc (4/1) kept going well for Flanagan to edge out Antey.