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Second Grade 1 for Death Duty on historic day for Elliott

Second Grade 1 for Death Duty on historic day for Elliott

Death Duty created a piece of history for his trainer Gordon Elliott, as his victory in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novices’ Chase, completed a never previously achieved clean sweep of Grade 1 victories at Fairyhouse’s Winter Festival which also included the Royal Bond Novices’ Hurdle and Hattons Grace Hurdle.

Already a Grade 1 winner having landed the Lawlor’s Hotel Novices’ Hurdle at Naas in January, the Shantou gelding who had made a winning debut in a four-year-old maiden at Cragmore point-to-point when under the care of Pat Doyle and incidentally providing Derek O’Connor with his 1,000th points victory, was sent off as a warm favourite for the 2m4f contest.
 
Making all of the running, the now six-year-old jumped well for Davy Russell, and although pressed by Toomebridge point-to-point graduate and recent dual-Grade 3 winner, Rathvinden, early in the home straight, Death Duty had plenty in reserves as he powered clear.
 
His three and a-quarter length victory ensures that he is the shortest price winner of the Grade 1 €85,000 contest in well over a decade.
 
Incidentally, the last time that Davy Russell, Gordon Elliott and Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud teamed up to success in the Drinmore was in 2013 with none other than subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack.
 
Elliott indicated that Death Duty was unlikely to follow Don Cossack's path on to the RSA Chase at March in Cheltenham, favouring middle distances for the exciting novice chaser.
 
“I might have been getting it wrong last year saying that he needed 3 miles. Davy (Russell) said there that he has loads of speed.
 
“He has won another Grade 1 for us and we’ll enjoy today. 
 
“We would be looking at the JLT (Novices Chase) for him. To be fair when he went to Cheltenham last year he didn’t travel well and got very light over there and I probably shouldn’t have run him as he wasn’t right. Thankfully the horse came back and showed how good he was there.”
 

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