Gordon Elliott sets sights on Troytown repeat
Gordon Elliott is mob-handed in his bid to win Sunday's Ladbrokes Troytown Chase at Navan for the second successive year.
The Lee Power-owned Balbriggan landed a major gamble when striking gold in the prestigious handicap 12 months ago and this time the master of Cullentra has four chances.
Power's silks are carried by recent Naas third Azorian, who makes his first start in a handicap since leaving Eoin Griffin's yard.
Elliott also saddles Gigginstown House Stud's Bonisland, the JP McManus-owned Riverside City and Georges Conn, who carries the less familiar colours of the Don't Tell The Woman Syndicate.
"It's a great race. We were lucky enough to win it last year and with Navan being one of my local tracks, that made last year's success extra special," said Elliott.
"Azorian joined us earlier this year and we have been delighted with him. He seems to handle any ground, the step up in trip will suit him and I think he'll have a good each-way chance.
"Bonisland has been off for a while, but he has a bit of class. He works well and obviously he'll have to come back to his best, but he is well and I am happy with him.
"Riverside City has a nice weight on his back and I thought he ran very well in the Cork National (fifth). We know that he stays well and he has sneaked into the bottom of the handicap.
"Georges Conn disappointed the last day at Thurles, but he gets in with a nice weight on his back. He is in good shape and he is owned by local owners, so it's great for them to have a horse good enough to run in a race like this."
Noel Meade saddles a couple of major contenders in Tulsa Jack and Mullaghanoe River.
Tulsa Jack arrives at the top of his game following victory in the Cork Grand National three weeks ago, while Mullaghanoe River makes his first appearance since tipping up in the Irish Grand National in April of last year.
"Mullaghanoe River has been doing everything right at home and we're looking forward to getting him going again," said Meade.
"He missed all last season, but we're very happy with him at home at the moment.
"Whether Tulsa Jack will handle the ground or not we'll have to wait and see. He handled it in Cork, but it will be more like winter ground on Sunday.
"We were going to let him off before he won in Cork, but he's just kept improving and improving and we thought we'd let him take his chance this weekend and see how he goes."
Ballychorus has enjoyed an excellent year for trainer Mags Mullins, and owner Barry Connell is hopeful of another bold show.
He said: " She's done well so far this year, winning two over hurdles and two over fences, and she's definitely on the upgrade.
"I'm not sure she's a real winter horse, but we'll give her another run and see what way the ground goes after that."