Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 17 March 2018

Duty calls for Elliott in Navan hat-trick

Double Scores and Jack Kennedy part company after jumping the last in the beginners’ chase at Thurles yesterday. Photo: HEALY RACING
Double Scores and Jack Kennedy part company after jumping the last in the beginners’ chase at Thurles yesterday. Photo: HEALY RACING

Thomas Kelly

Death Duty took his unbeaten record over smaller obstacles to three with an emphatic performance in the Navan Novice Hurdle as trainer Gordon Elliott completed a 55/1 treble.

Successful at Roscommon and Navan this season, the Elliott-trained five-year-old completed the hat-trick with a stylish display in this Grade Two contest.

Monalee set out to make all the running, but Death Duty (6/4) always had him his sights and cruised alongside the leader at the second-last flight.

Bryan Cooper just had to shake him up and the Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding pulled away to score by three and three-quarter lengths.

Monalee held Invitation Only, the even-money favourite, for second place.

Death Duty was shortened in price as the ante-post favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, for which he is now trading at odds of around 5/2.

Elliott said: "He's done it well and we like him a lot.

"I thought he'd improved a bit from the last day, and Bryan said he was on the bridle more this time.

"He will go now for the Grade One (Lawlors Hotel) novice hurdle at Naas (January 8). He looks an Albert Bartlett type."

Cooper said: "His jumping kills other horses, and he gets four lengths at a hurdle when another horse might get two.

"Shane McCann rides him in all his work, and he told me that he has more gears than you think. He's not as slow as we think, and he has plenty of options."

Automated came from last to first in the Tara Handicap Hurdle to give Elliott and Bryan Cooper a quickfire double.

Last year's winner Rossvoss cut out the early pace with Automated's stablemate Clarcam until the race began to heat up with three flights left to jump.

Scoir Mear, the 3/1 favourite, took it up from two out, but Automated (8/1) came with a telling run to skip clear after the last and win by a length and a quarter.

The first two pulled 20 lengths clear of Gurteen in third place.

Elliott said: "Bryan gave him a peach of a ride. Ideally, he wants to be a length or two down at the last and come with one run as he does not like to be in front too long.

"The conditions suited and the track suited him."

And it got even better for Elliott when Glenloe just got the better of Call The Taxie after a prolonged battle in the John Lynch Carpets Maiden Hurdle.

The 6/4 favourite, ridden by Barry Geraghty for owner JP McManus, was made to fight every inch of the way to see off a game adversary by a neck.

The leading pair pulled 26 lengths clear of the third horse, A Rated.

Elliott said: "He's a grand horse but it was probably a weak enough race. He had his head in front at the right time.

"He's bred to be a staying chaser as he's a brother of Alfie Sherrin."

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