Robbie Energy needs Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Our Duke to impress at Down Royal

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ROBBIE POWER has challenged Our Duke to verify himself a real Cheltenham Gold Cup contender at Down Royal.

Jessica Harrington’s seven-year-old is fancied by many to go shut on this season’s Cheltenham showpiece after a spectacular novice marketing campaign, together with a wide-margin Irish Grand Nationwide win.

His credentials will probably be given an early take a look at in opposition to seven rivals within the JNwine.com Champion Chase on Saturday.

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Talking at a Nationwide Hunt season preview, Energy mentioned: “Sizing John is the Gold Cup winner and Our Duke has to step as much as that degree. On the finish of the day he is received a Grade One novice chase and a handicap.

“He has to make the step to show that he is a real Gold Cup contender, beginning on Saturday.

 Our Duke was an impressive winner of the Boylesports Irish Grand National last season

SPORTSFILE

Our Duke was a formidable winner of the Boylesports Irish Grand Nationwide final season

“There’s quite a lot of water to cross below the bridge between now and subsequent March. Hopefully Our Duke will make that development.”

Energy believes Our Duke is match sufficient to do himself justice, however feels the presence of Highway To Respect, who has already had a run this autumn, makes it a troublesome ask.

“He is as match as we might have him with out having a run. He is been away for a racecourse gallop,” the jockey added.

“Clearly Highway To Respect has a large benefit as he is had a run below his belt.

“Our horse goes there in nice type and we could not be happier with him. He is had an awesome run since he is come again in and hasn’t missed a beat. Hopefully he’s match sufficient.”

Road To Respect won at the Cheltenham Festival in March before claiming the notable scalp of the Yorkhill in the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse.

He picked up where he left off when beating a strong field in last month’s Irish Daily Star Chase at Punchestown and trainer Noel Meade has been delighted with his subsequent progress.

The Tu Va handler said: “We’re very happy with Road To Respect and we couldn’t have asked for any more on his first run back. He picked up really well and he won well.

“He came out of the race in Punchestown really well. Danny Benson rides him all the time and he’s thrilled with him. He said he’s in great shape since he ran.”

 Road To Respect set for Down Royal outing

PA:Press Association

Road To Respect set for Down Royal outing

The trainer added: “My biggest worry is the fact that he keeps jumping that bit left.

“When I looked at his race again in Punchestown he did give away a good bit of ground, which in a Grade One he can’t afford to do that.

“I’d be hoping now that he would jump a bit straighter the next day.”

Templegate’s Treble

NAP 12.50 Wetherby – Alfie’s Choice: ‘Came up against some smart prospects last year and this trip should suit’ (add to your betslip)

NEXT BEST 2.35 Wetherby – Sametegal: ‘He’s well weighted on his smart novice form and is proven after an absence’ (add to your betslip)

TREBLE 2.10 Uttoxeter – Sandy Cove: ‘Had some solid form in the summer and should be up to winning a race like this’ (add to your betslip)

Road To Respect is one of four runners for Gigginstown House Stud, who have claimed this prize five times in the last six years.

Michael O’Leary’s operation is also represented in this season’s renewal by Sub Lieutenant, Alpha Des Obeaux and Outlander.

Another leading owner, JP McManus, is double-handed, with Jonjo O’Neill’s British challenger More Of That joined by the John Kiely-trained Carlingford Lough.

Andrew Lynch’s stable star Zabana completes the eight-strong field.



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