Death Duty grinds out Grade 1 after Augusta fall

Death Duty was just in front at the last when Augusta Kate fell

PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos Death Duty grinds out Grade 1 after Augusta fall By Peter Scargill 1:59PM 8 JAN 2017

Report: Naas, Sunday

Naas: Lawlor's Hotel Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m4f, 5yo+

DEATH DUTY galloped his way to a wide-margin win as the 5-6 favourite but the battle he looked set to have with second favourite Augusta Kate evaporated when the mare took a crashing fall at the final hurdle.

Augusta Kate had looked green and slightly awkward once removed from the pack by Ruby Walsh, the rider having to slap her down the neck continuously to keep her concentrating, and the pair got low at the final obstacle and came down.

It completed a miserable afternoon for trainer Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh, who had enjoyed such a successful Christmas period, as the well-fancied American Tom also fell in the race before.

Walsh had little Augusta Kate hidden for much of the race as she was surrounded by a group of towering geldings.

Blood Crazed Tiger made the early running before Turcagua took up the lead. He was tracked through by Death Duty with his honest low head carriage and powerful galloping action.

Turning for home Death Duty forced his way to the front under jockey Jack Kennedy and approaching the second last Walsh decided it was time to see what Augusta Kate could do.

Showing a smart change of pace, Augusta Kate quickly closed on Death Duty but looked uncertain as she ran around between the final two hurdles.

Nevertheless, it seemed Death Duty and Augusta Kate would be battling it out all the way home once they crossed the final flight, but the mare was low and clipped the top. Both horse and jockey were soon up after the fall.

It was left for Death Duty to gallop out to the line, his head stretched determinedly towards the winning post. Turcagua was nine lengths back in second.

More to follow. . .

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