Gordon Elliott trained seven winners in all at the inaugural Navan Racing Festival but there is a fair chance he got the biggest kick of all from seeing American Mike come right back to form with a strong staying performance to see off the much touted Fact To File in the Race And Stay Irish EBF Beginners Chase.

The Bective Stud-owned chaser jumped well in front for Jack Kennedy and still held a comfortable advantage after the third last. From the second last, Fact To File closed right up to him and looked set to go on, but American Mike battled back on the inside outfought the favourite to win by three and a quarter lengths in the end.

“I was delighted with him and in fairness to Jack, he’s put a lot of work into this horse, he is schooling him every day himself, changing the bit and doing different things,” said the delighted winning trainer. “He finished his race out today which was the first time he did that since he was a bumper horse. I’m absolutely thrilled - that one meant as much as all the rest of them.

“Noel and Valerie are from Navan and they are massive supporters of Gordon Elliott racing and are good friends of mine. We hit the crossbar with a few yesterday but they deserve every bit of luck they get because of what they put into horse racing and into Meath football, they’re just very good people and for them to have a winner today, that meant a lot.”

Noel Moran, who went close to winning the featured Troytown with Fakir D’Alene, said: “He jumped very well there now so he looks back to his best. It was a good performance.

“He was always going to be a chaser and it just goes to show, the first and second in the bumper, they both won at Navan this weekend - two good horses.”

Elliott nominated the Grade 1 Faugheen Novice Chase as a possible next target for American Mike who was introduced to the Turners Novice Chase betting at 10/1 by Paddy Power.


Earlier Elliott won the Troytown Chase win Coko Beach, but also saw impressive victories for Kala Conti and Croke Park.

Kala Conti made light work of just two rivals in the opening juvenile hurdle and may go for the Grade 3 juvenile hurdle at the Winter Festival at Fairyhouse in two weeks time. Croke Park had to fight hard to win the Grade 3 Monksfield Novice Hurdle but eventually led home a one-two-three-four for Elliott in the race.

On the Gigginstown House Stud-owned novice hurdler, the Meath trainer said: “He’s a lovely horse, Jack said he probably wants three miles in time,” Elliott said. “He didn’t do a whole lot when he got there but he jumped well. He’s a big horse, he has had two runs and I might just go straight to Naas with him (for Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle). I don’t want to be going to the well too much. I think he is a really nice horse.