Power pays tribute to ill-fated 'Duke'
Robbie Power led the tributes to Our Duke, declaring him "one of the best I've ever ridden", as Jessica Harrington's star chaser sadly passed away yesterday after a massive heart attack at her Commonstown Stables.
Power had cantered Our Duke - pulled up in last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup - yesterday morning in a routine piece of work before the eight-year-old died less than an hour later.
It comes as a great shock to all involved in racing, particularly Laois owners the Cooper family, with Power describing how his performance in last year's Irish Grand National - when skating home by 14 lengths - "will live long in my memory".
Elsewhere, Noel Meade's stable star Road To Respect is on course for a tilt at the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup next Wednesday with the Gold Cup fourth reported to be fresh and well as he looks to finish his season in style.
"He's great. We've had a great run with him since Cheltenham. He's not a horse that takes a lot of work. He just has one piece of work to do before he runs and so far everything has gone to plan," Meade told At The Races:
"We decided after Cheltenham that we were going to skip Aintree so that worked out well enough. He had an easy enough time for a while and we're just building him back up now."
Meanwhile, Denis Hogan expressed his upset at today's scheduled Kilbeggan card biting the dust due to the elements as there was "nowhere to go with any horse under 120" but thankfully Limerick has filled the breach for him and many others. Smaller meetings offer the likes of Hogan a valuable chance to impress often without many of bigger hitters like Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins and the Tipperary trainer/jockey has made hay this season.
Hogan was out of luck with Foxy Lass at Cheltenham yesterday but 21 winners have made this a real breakthrough season and he goes in search of more at the Patrickswell track.
He is double-handed in the Follow Limerick On Twitter Maiden Hurdle (5.0) with both his own mount Turbine and stable-mate Desert Grey although Elliott's Kuraka will be a tough nut to crack under Denis O'Regan.
Elliott goes in search of more prize money in his Irish trainers' championship bid and sends Ballela Boy - which got off the mark after ten attempts over fences - in the www.limerickraces.ie Handicap Chase (7.05).
The seven-year-old has held decent company, however, and looks well treated over fences although Adrian Murray's Bilbo Bagins and Robert Tyner's Concordin will give him plenty to think about in an open affair.