Share

Trainer Elliott claims 41,276-1 Navan six-timer


Bryan Cooper on Empire of Dirt

Empire of Dirt won by four lengths from his nearest rival

Irish trainer Gordon Elliott won six of the day’s seven races at Navan’s prestigious Troytown Chase fixture at accumulated odds of 41,276-1.

Elliott now leads reigning champion Willie Mullins in the Irish jump racing season’s prize-money-determined title race by almost 500,000 Euro (£424,500).

The highlight was the win for Empire Of Dirt (12-1) in the day’s feature race for jockey Bryan Cooper.

“I’ve never had six at one meeting on a day before,” said Elliott.

“I did have seven once spread between Bellewstown and Perth – I can’t believe it; they were good races too.

“It’s a day to enjoy – I have a good bunch of staff and a lot of nice horses – we’re delighted.”

Asked about taking the championship that Mullins has dominated for eight seasons, Elliott insisted that he had “no chance, no chance” of wrestling it away.

It was a third win in a row in the Troytown for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National-winning trainer, who saddled 11 of the 25 runners.

The nine-year old Empire of Dirt, running in the colours of airline tycoon Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud racing operation, has April’s Aintree Grand National as a long-term aim and is currently a 33-1 shot for the race.

The Gigginstown-owned Rule The World was victorious in this year’s Grand National.

Analysis – BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

Willie Mullins has dominated Irish jump racing in general – and many of the big national hunt races right across these islands in particular – for eight seasons, but perhaps the balance is now shifting.

Mullins has the support of multi-millionaire American financier Rich Ricci – their horse Min was the only non-Elliott horse to win at Navan – but he did lose 60 horses owned by the Gigginstown House operation two or three months ago, which was a massive blow, and Elliott was one of the beneficiaries.

The ex-jump jockey simply churns out runners – 27 at Navan – at a very decent winning percentage, and if he keeps up this momentum could take some catching. Though Mullins has yet to race many big guns this season.