Tofino Bay (nearest) jumps the last alongside eventual third Glenquest
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
The Dessie Hughes trained novice Tofino Bay just hung on to win the Grade B Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase providing Davy Russell with a double on the card.
The 9yo son of Bishop Of Cashel won his beginners chase over the course in September and then finished second to Baily Green in a Grade 3 novice chase at Cork last time out.
Upped in trip to three miles today he tracked the leaders for much of the race and was a close second as they entered the straight for the final time.
He hit the front and was ridden after the last and when bypassing the usual last (omitted today due to ground conditions) Russell dropped his whip.
The Eddie Harty trained Like Your Style (9/1) ridden by Tony McCoy (replacing Mark Walsh) came with a late surge but it just came up short as Tofino Bay lasted it out to win by half a length at the line.
The Terence O’Brien trained Glenquest (10/1) attempted to make all under Paul Townend but he could offer no more when headed after the last and had to settle for third a further eleven lengths back.
The Paul Gilligan trained Jadanli ran well to take fourth a further five lengths back at 20/1 under Barry Cash while the 9/2 favourite (opened 6/1 on-course) Romanesco finished a disappointing ninth under Ruby Walsh for trainer Gordon Elliott.
Davy Russell said afterwards: "I got my reins all tangled up and unfortunately I dropped my whip bypassing the last. He really tanked right through the race and he just idled a bit in front.
"I don’t think he will be a National horse as the ground is bound to be too good by then.
Dessie Hughes added: "That was a good performance by a novice. He jumps well, stays well and loves that ground. He really goes on it.
"I'm not sure what we will do with him now, it depends on what Noel O’Brien does. He should improve again."
Boylesports go 33/1 about the winner for the Aintree National.
(Additional reporting by Alan Magee)