Having dominated at the big two-day fixture at Down Royal, Jack Kennedy and Gordon Elliott were once again the major forces at the new Navan Racing Festival which they took by storm over the weekend. Elliott ran 14 horses in Sunday’s historic €100,000 contest and scored his sixth success in the race as Coko Beach, winner of Gowran Park’s Thyestes Chase and Grade 2 Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan in 2021, raced to a two and a quarter-length win from the Gavin Cromwell-trained Limerick Lace under Danny Gilligan. For good measure, Elliott’s Fakir D'Alene was third and his Dunboyne took fourth place with the stable’s Frontal Assault in fifth place. Jack Kennedy had earlier given Elliott his first of the afternoon as 2/13 favourite Kala Conti took the three-year-old hurdle. Kennedy was again in the saddle as 4/6 favourite Croke Park led home a 1-2-3-4 for the stable in the Grade 3 John Lynch Carpets & Flooring Monksfield Novice Hurdle. The Kerryman completed a treble and gave the local trainer his four-timer as 9/4 chance American Mike, owned by Bective Stud, impressed when beating Willie Mullins’ 8/11 favourite Fact To File three and a quarter lengths in the two and a half-mile beginners’ chase.
Elliott had Saturday’s treble wrapped up after the fourth race of the day, a little past 1.30. With Jack Kennedy in the saddle, he won the opening two and a half-mile maiden hurdle with 4/7 favourite Stellar Story which impressed as he beat Willie Mullins’ Largy Hill by four and three-parts of a length. Six and a half lengths was the margin as Fortunedefortunata won the two-mile handicap hurdle at odds of 100/30 favourite, the Breakaway’s Syndicate-owned six-year-old easily winning from the John flavin-trained Clarens. At a higher level, the Grade 3 Bar One Racing For Auction Novice Hurdle went Elliott’s way as Sam Ewing got 15/8 chance What’s Up Darling home by a neck from his own stable companion Dee Capo, the 11/8 favourite ridden by Jack Kennedy. The pair were all of 10 lengths clear of the Henry de Bromhead-trained She’s A Fine Wine.
Kennedy had partnered his first winner of the week as Minella Crooner took the MW Hickey Memorial Chase on his first start since the Cheltenham Festival in March at Wexford on Friday. Kennedy had Gordon Elliott’s 4/1 chance in front turning for home and the seven-year-old fended off the challenge of the Paul Nolan-trained 7/2 shot Joyeux Machin by half a length in the colours of KTDA Racing.
Denis O'Regan announces his retirement at the Navan Racing Festival
Denis O’Regan called time on his career at Navan on Saturday. Earlier this month, the 41-year-old made history by becoming the only jockey to ride a winner at every active jumps’ track in Ireland and Britain, ticking the final box at Hereford. The Youghal jockey notched up 800 career winners last year and his tally seven Grade 1 winners, four Cheltenham Festival successes and a memorable Galway Plate success on Ansar, trained by Dermot Weld in 2005. O’Regan also rode a winner at Warrnambool in Australia. He began his career as an amateur rider and rode his first winner on All Honey, for the late Francis Flood, in a bumper at Listowel in April, 2001. He turned professional in September, 2003.
Limerick – Tuesday, November 21 (First Race 12.25pm)
Dundalk – Wednesday, November 22 (First Race 1.45pm)
Thurles – Thursday, November 23 (First Race 12.10pm)
Dundalk – Friday, November 24 (First Race 5.30pm)
Punchestown – Saturday, November 25 (First Race 11.40am)
Punchestown – Sunday, November 26 (First Race 11.40am)
Cork – Sunday, November 26 (First Race 12 noon)