Death Duty to deliver riches
Death Duty can enhance his strong Cheltenham Festival claims on Sunday, says Chris Wilson. He has a tip for every race.
Death Duty has 'simply come alive over hurdles'
CHEPSTOW: 1.00 Du Soleil, 1.30 Constantine Bay, 2.00 Fly Camp, 2.30 Krackatoa King, 3.00 Poppy Kay, 3.30 Ubaltique, 4.00 Horseguardsparade.
FONTWELL: 1.10 My Khaleesi, 1.40 Straits Of Messina, 2.10 The Chuckmeister, 2.40 Caid Du Lin, 3.10 Bishops Court, 3.40 Up The Navan Road.
NAAS: 12.50 Mossback, 1.20 Some Plan, 1.50 Death Duty, 2.20 Kilcarry Bridge, 2.50 All The Chimneys, 3.20 Monbeg Rose, 3.50 Debuchet.
DOUBLE: Death Duty and Ubaltique.
Death Duty can further emboss his strong Cheltenham Festival claims with victory in the Lawlor's Hotel Novice Hurdle at Naas.
Trainer Gordon Elliott was super quick to pinpoint this Grade One as the next staging post for the six-year-old, who really has looked the real deal this season.
Death Duty was far from a shabby bumper horse, but he has simply come alive over hurdles.
After all, he has emphatically kicked on from a routine Roscommon maiden hurdle success in October with back-to-back Graded triumphs at Navan.
His most recent assignment, a Grade Two over two and a half miles, was meant to have been his biggest test to date as he went head to head with Invitation Only.
But whereas that rival faltered, Death Duty improved markedly as the race went on and ended up an easy winner.
This looks a bang-up-to-scratch renewal at Naas, with the likes of Augusta Kate and Blood Crazed Tiger worthy foes.
But Death Duty seemingly possesses greater levels of speed and stamina than the rest of them, and is utterly deserving of his place at the head of the ante-post lists for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March.
Some Plan should also get the job done in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase.
Henry de Bromhead's 145-rated hurdler made an accomplished fencing debut in a two-runner affair at Punchestown in October, but it all went wrong at Cheltenham a month later.
The nine-year-old was bang in contention for Grade Two honours in an Arkle trial at Prestbury Park, but fell two fences from home.
Any horse at that stage of their career can be forgiven for doing something like that, though, and De Bromhead will no doubt have put a heck of a lot of work in at home to make sure he does not make the same mistake twice.
Expect his odds for the Arkle in March to be significantly shortened if he does what is expected of him in what is a really interesting race.
Ubaltique is worth a little bit of an interest in the Bathwick Tyres Cardiff Handicap Chase at Chepstow.
Trained by Donald McCain, whose horses having been going really well this season, the fact he is top weight for this is probably offset by the fact is he now on an eminently winnable mark.
The soft-ground-loving nine-year-old shaped quite encouragingly at Wetherby and Haydock, with his most recent effort on Merseyside especially noteworthy.
Ubaltique could only finish fourth in the end, but he fleetingly appeared set to claim the spoils before he grew jaded late on.
This two-mile test is not nearly as good as that race and it should also have brought him on no end.
Straits Of Messina is respected in the General Farrell Handicap Hurdle at Fontwell.
Trainer Tom Symonds must have been well chuffed with this one at Bangor last month when he finished second in a two-mile handicap hurdle on his first start in over two years.
It barely needs mentioning that the eight-year-old will be a fair bit sharper with that run in safe-keeping.
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