Paul Townend was the star of the show at Navan yesterday as Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Handicap Chase Final winner Heathfield starred in a fantastic four-timer for the rider.
Fresh from a hat-trick of winners at the Cheltenham Festival, Townend kept up the momentum in County Meath, excelling aboard Tony Martin-trained 2-1 shot Heathfield in the feature event of the afternoon.
Katnap put up a bold effort from the front, but Heathfield arrived on the scene with plenty in the tank approaching the final fence and kicked clear on the run-in.
Forever Gold, the 15-8 favourite, came through to fill the runner-up spot, beaten three and three-quarter lengths.
Martin said: “It was a weak enough race for the pot. Two out you’d say he was in trouble, but stamina won the day. He loved the ground and the track. Paul let the others come back to him and that made the difference.”
Townend had earlier steered Vedettariat (11-2) to victory in the John Lynch Carpets Kells EBF Novice Hurdle for his boss Willie Mullins.
In a race run at a crawl, Vedettariat raced up with the pace and quickened up well in the straight to score by a length and a quarter from 11-8 favourite Fine Article.
“We got things our own way and were able to do what we wanted,” said Townend.
“The penny has dropped a bit with him and he stayed at it well.”
The jockey gained his first success aboard the Tom Mullins-trained Grand Partner (7-1) in the John Lynch Carpets Navan Handicap Hurdle and completed his excellent afternoon’s work on 7-1 shot Ibetellingyoualie in the www.navanracecourse.ie Handicap Chase.
Mullins said of Grand Partner: “We need to go left-handed with him. He had two lovely runs in Leopardstown and I thought he had a chance in the Pertemps (at Punchestown), but David (Mullins, son) said he wasn’t as good right-handed and he was proved right today.
“He had run well here before. There probably isn’t a lot left around left-handed tracks for him. We might go for a beginners chase.”
Call Me Pj (5-4 favourite) delivered for favourite backers in the John Lynch Flooring Contractors Maiden Hurdle under Mark Enright.
Winning trainer Oliver McKiernan said: “It worked out well in the end, but I wasn’t sure during the race what would happen with the other horse (Utmost Zeal) being so far clear.
“He jumped well and travelled well and we’re happy enough. He could head to Fairyhouse for either a handicap or a novice.
“He likes good ground and will go back on the Flat during the summer.”
Jessica Harrington and Barry Geraghty combined to land the Navan Shamrock Festival Maiden Hurdle with 4-1 shot High Stratos.
“He was entitled to do that the way he won the bumper in Punchestown. He just doesn’t jump the greatest but he’s getting there,” said Harrington. The further he went the better he was and we’ll probably go up in trip, I’d say to three miles.”
The bumper went to the Sandra Hughes-trained Art Of Security (3-1), ridden by Johnny King.
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