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Balbriggan all the way

Balbriggan put up an admirable front-running performance to land a gamble in the highly competitive Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan.

Available at 14-1 in places in the morning, the Gordon Elliott-trained grey was sent off the 4-1 favourite and barely gave his legion of supporters an anxious moment.

Ridden with supreme confidence by 3lb claimer Kevin Sexton, Balbriggan saw off all-comers as he bounded to victory by a length and three-quarters from Owega Star, the only one to pose a threat coming down the straight.

Groody Hill, winner of this race in 2011, stayed on strongly for third, with Back Off Mate fourth.

"It was easy enough to fancy him off a light weight," said Sexton, last season's champion Irish conditional rider..

"He was loving it all in front. His ears were pricked and he was winging his fences. He loves galloping and he handles soft ground."

Elliott, completing a double on the day following the success of Free Expression, said: "He's owned by two soccer agents (Lee Power and Willie McKay).

"We gave a good few quid for him but he's paid his way now. He ran at Sedgefield because the lads were going to be there and we had a great day out.

"I couldn't believe the price he was (20-1 on Saturday and 11-1 on track). He's in all the staying chases like the Becher and the Paddy Power.

"He'd a nice light weight on his back and Kevin jumped him out and made use of it. He gave him a fine ride."

Balbriggan was cut to 12-1 from 14s for the Coral Welsh National with Paddy Power.

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