Thursday 14 December 2017

Six-timer for Elliott as 'Empire' leads home his Troytown battalion

Trainer Gordon Elliot celebrates his sixth winner out of seven races at Navan Racecourse. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Trainer Gordon Elliot celebrates his sixth winner out of seven races at Navan Racecourse. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Thomas Kelly

In yet another milestone in what has already been a record-breaking season, Gordon Elliott sent out a phenomenal 41,277/1 six-timer at Navan.

The Meath man, who trains a couple of miles from the track at Cullentra, began the afternoon almost €400,000 ahead of perennial champion Willie Mullins, albeit having saddled over 400 more runners since the season began. "It was one of those days where I thought we'd plenty of chances, but to have six winners is just unbelievable," said Elliott.

It is perhaps a measure of where the two dominant stables in Irish jumps racing are at this stage of the season that Elliott saddled a total of 25 runners on the card to Mullins' six.

The Cullentra handler sent a battalion of 11 horses to post in a bid to win the Ladbrokes Troytown Chase for the third successive year and came up trumps as 12/1 shot Empire Of Dirt, a winner at last season's Cheltenham Festival for the now-retired Colm Murphy, made a successful debut for his new trainer under Bryan Cooper. Boylesports make the winner a 33/1 shot for the Grand National and Elliott confirmed the Aintree spectacular is now high on his agenda.

Empire Of Dirt was one of three winners on the card for Cooper, also striking gold aboard 11/10 favourite Death Duty in the 'Monksfield' Novice Hurdle and Bull Ride (7/1) in the two-mile handicap hurdle.

Jack Kennedy rode two of the stable's winners. Brelade hit the target at 11/1 in the opening maiden hurdle. And Kennedy doubled up aboard Jury Duty (5/1 joint-favourite) in the staying handicap hurdle.

The six-timer was completed in the mares' bumper as Three Swallowsnick (13/8) kept her unbeaten record intact in the hands of Jamie Codd.

The only other race went to Mullins as Supreme Novices' Hurdle runner-up Min made a fine start to his career over fences in the beginners chase over two miles.

The 1/3 favourite jumped well on the way to his 10-length success under Ruby Walsh and is a best-priced 5/1 for the Arkle Trophy behind his Supreme conqueror Altior at 2/1.

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