Friday 24 November 2017

Our Duke in mix for Down Royal feature

Trainer Jessica Harrington. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Trainer Jessica Harrington. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Thomas Kelly

Last year's Irish Grand National hero Our Duke headlines the 11 remaining entries in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday.

Jessica Harrington's novice turned on the style in the Fairyhouse feature on Easter Monday last and it looks like he could go to the very top of the chasing tree in the three-mile sphere.

Gigginstown House Stud are sure to field the main opposition and are responsible for six possible runners.

Last year's winner Valseur Lido, who had his 2016-17 season cut short by injury, and Sub Lieutenant could represent Henry de Bromhead. Noel Meade can choose from Road To Respect and Disko. Both horses also hold an entry in the Grade Two over two and a half miles on the same card.

Alpha Des Obeaux (Mouse Morris) and Outlander (Gordon Elliott) are the others for Michael O'Leary's team.

Jonjo O'Neill has left in More Of That, while Coneygree is also still a possible - but both horses have the option of the Charlie Hall at Wetherby.

Zabana and Carlingford Lough complete the list. The latter is trained by John Kiely, who said: "We've been very lucky that he's stayed sound for so long. His legs might be getting a bit weary now and we're just waiting to see where we stand with him."

Over in Bangor yesterday, Barry Geraghty was among the winners as he guided smart handicap hurdler Modus to victory in the novice chase over two and a half miles.

Trained by Paul Nicholls for JP McManus, the seven-year-old won the Lanzarote Hurdle last season and was sixth in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in March. Geraghty's mount faced just two rivals and the 2/9 favourite landed in front of Midnight Target after the last before striding clear for a five-length success.

Meanwhile, Peter Niven has paid tribute to Mary Reveley, 77, after the former leading trainer in the north of England died suddenly on Monday.

The dual-purpose trainer - who twice won the Cesarewitch and also landed the Cambridgeshire with her favourite horse Mellottie - suffered a suspected heart attack at her family's stables.

Reveley was as adept at handling three-mile chasers as she was five-furlong sprinters, and Niven - who used to ride for England's winning-most female trainer - credited her with having as big an impact on the northern scene as Martin Pipe did in the south.

"She was training them exactly the same as Martin Pipe, but at the time nobody knew it - it was interval training," Niven said. "Mary never realised it at the time, but she was producing top-class results."

Irish Independent

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