The feature race at Navan on Sunday is the 3m Troytown Handicap Chase (14:30), and Tower Bridge looks to hold outstanding claims of landing the spoils for in-from trainer Joseph O’Brien.
This six-year-old, who is one of nine runners in the contest for leading owner JP McManus, had some very smart form over hurdles in 2018 to be rated 142 at his peak.
After winning a Grade 1 over 2m 6f Leopardstown, Tower Bridge ran very well when a staying on 7 3/4 lengths fifth of 20 to Kilbricken Storm in the 3m Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
He arguably would have finished closer but for a mistake at the last. The son of High Chaparral went on to round off the campaign with an excellent 7 1/2 lengths third to Santini in another 3m Grade 1 at the Aintree Grand National Festival.
Tower Bridge then had his attention switched to chasing at the start of last season. Although he didn’t get his head in front in four starts, he did run some very solid races in defeat.
They included when a 15-length runner-up to subsequent Arkle winner and now 162-rated Duc Des Genievres in a 17-runner 2m 4f graduation chase at Gowran Park.
Step back up in trip significant
He had Burrows Saint four lengths behind in fourth. That one went on to win his next three starts, including the Irish Grand National, and be rated 156. It’s very strong form indeed.
Tower Bridge went on to finish a fine second of 20 to A Plus Tard in the 2m 4f Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at this year’s Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 141.
He is able to race in the Troytown Handicap Chase off the same rating. Tower Bridge also comes into the contest on the back of an eye-catching reappearance run when keeping on to finish a never nearer five-length fourth of 18 to Tornado Flyer in a 2m 1f Naas beginners chase.
That should have blow away the cobwebs and put him on for this. It’s very interesting that Tower Bridge now runs over 3m for the first time over fences.
This is the trip at which he excelled over hurdles. It looks as if his shrewd connections have run Tower Bridge over inadequate trips to protect his handy mark and lay him out for this valuable prize.
On his aforementioned run behind Duc Des Genievres he looks a massive player at the weights.
So, with regular in-form pilot JJ Slevin once again in the saddle, Tower Bridge appeals most at 8/1 with Paddy Power – who play six places on the Troytown Handicap Chase.
Ravenhill the pick of Elliott mob
Trainer Gordon Elliott has a superb race record, winning four of the last five renewals.
He saddles six this time around and the pick could well be Ravenhill, a 9/1 shot with William Hill.
This nine-year-old is unexposed over fences having won twice and been placed on two occasions in just five starts.
After an easy nine-length chase debut victory at Limerick, the Winged Love gelding ran below par when sent off odds-on and beaten six lengths at Kilbeggan.
Ravenhill then showed that running to be all wrong when resuming winning ways back at Limerick, before finishing a fine fifth of 22 to Borice in the 2m 6f Galway Plate off a mark of 136.
He got impeded on more than one occasion in the latter and, after being 17th at halfway, stayed on well to be nearest at the finish and beaten just over 10 lengths.
It was a fine effort, given how the race panned out. Ravenhill has since run a screamer to finish ahead second of 16 to Poker Party in the Kerry National at Listowel off 1lb higher.
After being waited with in rear under Denis O’Regan, he made stealthy headway before a mistake at the second last when looking the likely winner.
It cost Ravenhill ground at a vital stage, so it was to his credit that he rallied strongly and only just failed to win. That makes a 5lb rise in the weights not too harsh.
Ravenhill showed that he has a race of this nature in him. He’s now reunited with Davy Russell, who has a tremendous record of wins and a place in five rides aboard.
Everything points to a huge run, so it will be disappointing of Ravenhill doesn’t make the frame. He rates a solid each-way bet.
Don’t discount Discorama in Troytown Handicap Chase
Discorama has to shoulder joint top-weight of 11st 10lb, but is classy sort and looks sure to give it his best shot.
Trained by the in-form Paul Nolan, this six-year-old has run well at the last two Cheltenham Festivals.
He was first runner-up to Blow by Blow in the 2018 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Disocrama then filled the same spot when going down all guns blazing and beaten just half-a-length by Le Breuil in a gruelling renewal of the 3m 7f National Hunt Chase back in March.
He went on to finish a fine 12-length runner-up to Delta Work in a Grade 1 over 3m at the Punchestown Festival off an official rating of 149.
There was also lots to like about Discorama’s return to action at Wexford last month when second to Champagne Classic.
After being settled in third behind the clear leader, the son of Saddler Maker got detached at the fourth and looked to have a mountain to climb.
However, he then responded well to Davy Russell’s urgings and stayed on well to be nearest at the finish.
Discorama was beaten just under four lengths without being given an unduly hard time. The front two pulled 25 lengths clear of the third home.
Champagne Classic is a previous Cheltenham Festival winner rated 146, so it was a solid effort by Discorama in attempting to give him 4lb.
It makes an opening handicap chase mark of 159 look fair, while promising young rider Sean O’Keeffe takes off a handy 5lb with his claim.
As Discorama is also entitled to come on for that spin, he’s thus another worth considering each-way in a typically fierce renewal of the Troytown Handicap Chase. He can be backed at 7/1 with Betfred.