Sunday, December 03, 2017

Death Duty completed a Grade One treble on the day for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud with victory in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

With the formidable combination having already landed the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle with Mengli Khan and the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle with Apple’s Jade, Death Duty was the 8-11 favourite to extend his unbeaten record over fences to three in the hands of Davy Russell.

Each of the five novices jumped soundly in the main, with Death Duty leading the pack from flag-fall.

Rathvinden was right in his slipstream rounding the home turn, but Death Duty had too many guns and was well on top at the line.

Russell said: “You can do what you want on the likes of this horse. He’s a good horse.

“He jumped very good today and Gordon was happy for me to do what I wanted.

“It’s great to get the opportunity to ride these horses. Gordon is so good to us and spreads them out well.

“I’d say trip is variable with him. Where he’ll go will be dictated by whether he stays sound.”

Paying tribute to Elliott, the jockey added: “We talk about Willie (Mullins) and Willie is so good, he puts the benchmark so high for these trainers.

“I suppose Gordon is one reaching up for that mark. He’s a fantastic trainer and a great man to ride for.

“Willie is an exceptional man, but today is Gordon’s day and Gordon is the up and coming youth of the game, which is great to see.

“I’m on the way out and he’s on the way in!”

Earlier, Espoir D’Allen maintained his unbeaten record with an assured display in the Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

Snapped up by leading owner JP McManus after winning a French bumper, the three-year-old was visually impressive on his first two starts over hurdles for Gavin Cromwell at Punchestown and Down Royal.

The son of Voix Du Nord was the 8-13 favourite stepped up to Grade Three level and while Barry Geraghty was initially happy to sit at the rear of the five-strong field, he took much closer order racing down the back straight and was in front rounding the home turn.

Gordon Elliott’s dual winner Mitchouka did his best to cover the move and appeared to be travelling equally as well approaching the second flight from the finish, but Espoir D’Allen jumped it much the better and careered away to score comfortably in the end by four and a half lengths.

Geraghty said: “We went steady early and he was jumping so well, I felt we were better letting him go and enjoy himself and make use of his jumping. He’s a lovely sort, a gorgeous horse and does everything you want.”

Cromwell said: “I was very impressed with that as he took it up early and went about his business and did it well.

“Leopardstown (Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Christmas) will be on the cards and he will certainly get an entry. I’ll have to talk to JP and Frank (Berry, racing manager) and see what they want to do.

“He doesn’t show very much at home but when he comes to the track he answers all the questions.

“I think he’s versatile ground-wise, and horses by the sire Voix Du Nord seem to dig deep. He hasn’t been asked yet, but I think he’ll stay very well.”

Davids Charm (10-1) claimed top honours in the Bar One Racing Handicap Hurdle.

The John Joe Walsh-trained six-year-old lined up in the 100,000 euro contest in fine form having won successive races at Listowel and Galway before returning to Listowel to finish second in September.

He was a 10-1 shot for this fiercely competitive contest under Rachael Blackmore and while he was untidy at the final two flights in the home straight, he had enough in hand to hold Meri Devie at bay.

Yaha Fizz and She’s A Star dead-heated for third.

Walsh said: “The first race that he won, when he hit the front he didn’t know where to go – he nearly turned back!

“The next day he won in Galway, he nearly forgot to take the bend into the straight!

“He didn’t get the clearest of runs in Listowel the last day. He should have won there as well.

“We were worried about the ground. Hopefully he’ll progress away. We might go novice hurdling with him.”

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