American Mike and Jack Kennedy jump an early fence© Photo Healy Racing
A pair of Cheltenham Festival Bumper-runner-ups battled for Navan's Race And Stay Irish EBF Beginners Chase today, with American Mike (9/4) beating Fact To File (8/11f) to complete a four-timer for trainer Gordon Elliott.
American Mike and Fact To File finished second respectively in 2022 and 2023 Cheltenham Bumper renewals and today Elliott's stable jockey Jack Kennedy - recording a treble, steered American Mike to an all-the-way win.
Jumping well, American Mike was pressed by Fact To File from the second-last and while untidy at the last, found plenty to win by 3.25 lengths.
Elliott, earlier successful with Kala Conti Croke Park and Troytown Chase winner Coko Beach reported “I was delighted with American Mike. In fairness to Jack (Kennedy) he's put a lot of work into this horse and has been schooling him every day himself. He's even been changing the bit and doing different things with him.
“He finished his race out today which is the first time he's done it since he was a bumper horse.
“I got deflated with him over hurdles as he never finished out one. I think he might have bled one day and it took him a long time to get over it. He looked good today and hopefully he can keep going forward. He could maybe go to Limerick (for a Grade 1 race) at Christmas.”
He added “I'm absolutely thrilled as that one meant as much as all the rest because Noel and Valerie (Moran, owners) are from Navan and are massive supporters of mine. That was extra special for me.
“They are good friends, we hit the crossbar with a few yesterday and they deserved every bit of luck they get with what they are putting into horseracing and into Meath football. They are just brilliant people and for them to have a winner today meant a lot.”
Noel Moran added “that was very good and he jumped very well. I think he's back to his best and it was a good performance. He was always going to make a chaser. It just goes to show the first two in the (Cheltenham) bumper and the two of them won here at Navan this weekend. They are two good horses.
“You always get a kick out of a winner but to have one here at our local track makes it all the better, especially with the two-day festival here for the first time.
“It's absolutely brilliant, we have a lot of friends and family here today and we'll have a good night tonight.”
Quotes from Gary Carson