Elliott hopes Death Duty will continue to pay way
High-class hurdler Death Duty continues his education over fences in the Buck House Novice Chase at Punchestown today.
Gordon Elliott's charge won his first four starts over the smaller obstacles last season, before unseating Bryan Cooper at the final flight when favourite for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham.
He made a successful start to his chasing career at Tipperary at the start of the month and steps up to Grade Three level today.
Elliott reflected: "He's coming back in trip, but I just thought it would be a nice race to fit in and then go to the Drinmore, all being well.
"He's just been tipping away since Tipperary, and is in good form."
Death Duty faces four rivals over two-and-a-quarter miles, with owners Gigginstown House Stud also fielding the four-year-old Tout Est Permis, an impressive winner on his fencing bow at Gowran Park.
Henry de Bromhead, who has claimed this prize with Champion Chase hero Sizing Europe (2009), Loosen My Load (2010) and Three Stars (2016) in recent years, is represented by Three Wise Man.
Liam Kenny's hat-trick-seeker A Rated and Woodland Opera from Jessica Harrington's stable complete the line-up.
Later on, there's an interesting raider as Jonjo O'Neill sends over the JP McManus-owned Minella Rocco for the Daily Star Chase. Barry Geraghty has the leg-up on the seven-year-old and is looking forward to the ride.
After an indifferent campaign last season he finished off by chasing home Sizing John in the Gold Cup and the Meath rider believes he'll get better. "I schooled him in Jonjo's last week and he felt good," he said. "It will be good to get him going."
Minella Rocco is one of two runners for Geraghty's retaining owner JP McManus, along with John Kiely's dual Irish Gold Cup hero Carlingford Lough. Mark Walsh comes in for the ride on the latter.