Our Duke has been cut significantly for next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup after his emphatic success in the BolyeSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
SPRING heeled 9/2 favourite Our Duke was a magnificent winner of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at a jam packed Fairyhouse.
It continued the dream run of the Sizing John Gold Cup winning duo Jessica Harrington and local lad Robbie Power, both of whom were winning the Irish National for the first time.
And they now have two Gold Cup contenders for next season as Paddy Power slashed Our Duke from 33/1 to 10/1 for next year’s Cheltenham main event.
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Harrington said: “They’ve both got to get there first, it’s eleven months away but it probably is the obvious target and we’ll keep them apart until then.”
The bookies knew they were in trouble a long way from home and the packed stands erupted as hot pot Our Duke romped home 14 lengths clear of gallant Bless The Wings – runner up for the second successive year – with Abolitionist third another three quarters of a length behind, the same distance in front of former winner Thunder And Roses.
While Power celebrated it was a very different fate for another local hero Barry Geraghty, who suffered a suspected broken arm when falling off Minella Foru. Having missed Cheltenham, he will now miss the Punchestown Festival too.
A confident Power had Our Duke – running in just his fourth chase – up with the pace all the way and he was never out of the front four.
By now it was one way traffic though as Our Duke, kicked into the lead by Power four out, won doing handstands.
Power said: “He was superb all the way, always travelling well.
“Apart from the fourth fence he was super. He loved that good ground and we know he stays all day. He’s some horse.
Harrington said: “I couldn’t believe it. He was always going so well, and apart from one early mistake he jumped beautifully.
“Robert was so confident all the way. Three of them pulled way clear.
“But I thought the pack was closing four out but then our lad found another gear.
“He loved that good ground which surprised me.
“Robert has been with us a long time, he rode his first winner for us.
“We get on fine, I give out to him if he does anything wrong, but he’s not doing much wrong these days.
“We’ll surf the wave while it lasts. The horses are all running so well it’s great for everyone, we have a great team who all put so much into it.”
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