Wednesday 18 October 2017

Elliott eyes Drinmore as Death Duty survives scare

Trainer Gordon Elliott. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Gordon Elliott. Photo: Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Death Duty made a winning debut over fences at Tipperary - but it was not without incident.

Gordon Elliott's highly-regarded six-year-old jumped a little ponderously early on and made one significant error in the Beginners Chase.

However, once Davy Russell decided to send him into a clear lead there was a notable improvement in his jumping and, after making a slow leap at the last, Davy Russell's mount quickened up to win cosily by three-quarters of a length.

Elliott said: "That's job done. He never came out of second gear and could have got beat when he made that mistake at the last, but to be a champion you have to have heart and he showed that. He's a very good horse. I'd imagine we'll find one more race and then the Drinmore (Fairyhouse), all being well. He has won over two-and-a-half miles last year."

Roaring Bull made a sparkling start to his jumping career in the Supporters' Club Maiden Hurdle.

Russell had the odds-on favourite close to the pace before moving upsides the front-running Cowboy Des Long four out and stretched him clear at the second-last to account for Cash In Mind by seven-and-a-half lengths without ever having to come out of second gear.

"He was a big baby last year and hadn't been showing us much at home and that's the reason he was a big price on debut. He is still a big baby and will be a nice horse for next year," said Elliott, who went on to round out a three-timer of his own courtesy of Secret Legacy (7/2), which made a successful introduction in the Season Finale Flat Race without Nina Carberry having to break sweat.

Creation was made to pull out all the stops to justify 4/7 favouritism in the Follow Tipperary Races On Facebook Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Never more than a couple of lengths or so from the lead before leading at the second-last, the Henry de Bromhead-trained five-year-old was pressed, and perhaps even headed, by Elliott's Osco Mosco in the closing stages, only to fight back and prevail by a head.

Meanwhile, some of Aidan O'Brien's latest batch of bluebloods will be the centre of atention at Naas today on a seven-race card confined to juveniles.

The Ballydoyle handler fields three in the Fillies Maiden, headed by Forever Together, a full-sister to Group One winner Together Forever and a half-sibling to the top-class Lord Shanakill.

She is the mount of Wayne Lordan, with Seamie Heffernan teaming up with Gloriously and Derby-winning jockey Pádraig Beggy on A Long Time Ago, which is a sister to Cliffs Of Moher.

O'Brien also runs three in the Maiden, with his son Donnacha getting the leg-up on Conclusion, a Deep Impact colt out of maiden winner Cherokee. Lordan is on newcomer Kenya, while Heffernan teams up with Flag Of Honour, which was unplaced on his debut at the track last month.

Conquest is the Ballydoyle representative in the Nursery Handicap and, while she has failed to make an impact in three starts to date, she has a star pedigree as a full-sister to Minding.

The most valuable race at the fixture is the Auction Maiden in which the John Oxx-trained Night Of Power might be the one to beat, having finished in front of Flag Of Honour on his first taste of competitive action.

Aurora Eclipse was another to make a debut full of promise, going down by just half a length at Fairyhouse in July, and she returns from a break in the Naas Racecourse Maiden. Michael O'Callaghan's filly has most to fear from the Kevin Prendergast-trained Hawaam.

Yolo Star returns from an even longer absence in the Book Hospitality Online Nursery Handicap, having struck at Cork.

Irish Independent

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