Sunday, December 10, 2023

Troytown Handicap Chase: Coko Beach powers to Navan victory for Danny Gilligan and Gordon Elliott

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The likeable grey Coko Beach put in a neat round of jumping to land the Bar One Racing Troytown Handicap Chase for Danny Gilligan and Gordon Elliott – who had 14 of the 20 starters in the Navan feature.

The eight-year-old was always handy in the three-mile affair, with Gilligan’s 5lb claim easing the 11st 10lb burden he was required to carry off what was nearly a career-high mark of 153.

He ran a rhythmical race and met each fence well, easing into contention as the race developed and eventually staying on best of all to win by two and a quarter lengths from Gavin Cromwell’s 4-1 favourite Limerick Lace.

As a result he was introduced to the Grand National market at a price of 33-1 with Coral and cut to the same price from 50-1 with Betfair.

“He’s a great horse and we’re lucky to have him. He’s been knocking on the door in all those races, so he deserved to win one,” said Elliott.

“Jack [Kennedy] actually kind of wanted to ride him, but I wanted to claim off him and thank God I did. Danny is a great little rider and it’s a valuable 5lb.

“I thought it was a good race to watch. It was helter-skelter the whole way, they went a good gallop and all horses seemed to be home safe.

“He’s a bit of a boyo at home, he’s just a character. He had a good run in Limerick the last day. In the past he hasn’t been that strong of a finisher, he’s often faded out from the last home.

“We’ll probably head for a National with him, the Paddy Power would be a bit quick. He probably likes soft ground. He could also go for the Thyestes.

“He has schooled over cross-country and we won’t rule that out either.”

On running a huge team of horses, he added: “Thank God I won it anyway! We have to support these races, if I didn’t run in it there would only have been seven runners [at declaration time].

“It’s massively important for Navan racecourse, for the sponsors Bar One and for Irish racing that these races are full.

“I’ll support them and so will my owners. I don’t know if it’s the type of slow horses that I buy, but I seem to have a lot of them!”

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