Gordon Elliott will look to defend his Troytown Handicap Chase crown this Sunday at Navan with Frontal Assault the bookies' favourite, writes Tom Masters.
A five-time winner of the race, Elliott’s most recent success came in last year’s event when Run Wild Fred eased home ahead of Farclas in an Elliott one-two.
This year Frontal Assault will be his frontline competitor, with Farclas also among the bookies favourites, as Elliott looks to visit the winners’ enclosure for the sixth time.
The Gigginstown seven-year-old finished second in the Irish Grand National last year behind shock winner Lord Lariat and has enjoyed success at Navan before.
There is a further good omen for Elliott too, with the favourite winning each of the past three renewals – Run Wild Fred (2021), The Jam Man (2020) and Chris’s Dream (2019).
Frontal Assault is priced at 3/1 but after a late change from running at Newbury, Thomas Gibney’s Velvet Elvis has emerged as a frontrunner to challenge the County Meath trainer.
Gibney’s six-year-old had been scheduled to run in the Coral Gold Cup on Saturday, but opted for a change of plan due to the ground soft at Navan.
Velvet Elvis comes in at 8/1 as the second favourite, with Gibney looking to win his first Troytown Chase at the fourth time of asking.
He said: “He just needed the run, we were really hoping to go to Newbury but the ground went against us completely - luckily we had the back-up plan of Navan.
“Training where we are, the Troytown is always a race I've had my eye on if we had a suitable horse for it.
“It's great to be going there this year – we have high hopes for Velvet Elvis this season so hopefully he can go in the right direction."
Jessica Harrington’s Lifetime Ambition will hope to pick up where she left off, having recorded an impressive second-placed finish at Punchestown in April, while Willie Mullins’ Eggality Mans and Fighter Allen are two of four horses given 12/1 odds.
Elliott’s Farclas will be looking to go one better than last year with Peter Fahey’s The Big Dog the other two coming in at 12/1.
Davy Russell and Rachael Blackmore take the ride on two more Elliott horses, with Russell riding Death Duty and Blackmore on Glenloe (both 16/1).