Sunday 21 January 2018

Duke buoyed by Benedictine form ahead of Galway assault

Thomas Kelly

Brendan Duke reports all to be going well with Mister Benedictine as the in-form nine-year-old builds towards next week's Guinness Galway Hurdle at Ballybrit.

Duke's charge is on a four-timer after a win at Ballinrobe and two follow-up successes at Kilbeggan. He is a general 16/1 chance for the big race on Thursday week, on the fourth day of the Festival.

Duke tweeted: "My Galway Hurdle hope Mister Benedictine cantered 9f on the Old Vic woodchip gallop at the Curragh today. I was pleased with him."

Davy Russell will be offered the mount on Rebel Fitz after the partnership struck at Tipperary on Sunday. The Michael Winters-trained seven-year-old defeated Captain Cee Bee by a length and a half in the Grimes Hurdle to confirm his place in the summer highlight on August 2 -- as long as he is not punished too severely by the assessor.

Winters said: "We'll go to Galway, but only if he doesn't get too much of a penalty. This was a great race to win and races help to settle him.

"He loved those conditions and is an ideal horse for this time of year, in that he can go on moderately soft ground and also on good ground."

Irish Independent

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