Our Duke denies Coney in thriller

Our Duke claimed victory in a thrilling renewal of the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

Disko takes the final fence of the Neville Hotels Novice Chase in front from Coney Island and eventual winner Our Duke (left).

A strong field of 10 runners went to post for the three-mile Grade One, with Eddie Harty's Coney Island the 5/2 favourite to add to his top-level success in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

Briar Hill fell heading out onto the second circuit, while Alpha Des Obeaux was pulled up after making a bad mistake in the back straight, but four horses turned for home with a chance of success.

They grey Disko held a narrow advantage, with Coney Island travelling powerfully in his slipstream, before the Jessica Harrington-trained Our Duke came to join both at the final fence.

Coney Island hit the front inside the final furlong, but 4/1 shot Our Duke saw out the trip best of all under Robbie Power and got up to score by half a length, with the favourite the same distance in front of Disko (20/1).

Power said: "That was a very decent field. The Drinmore winner was in there and plenty of other good horses and for Our Duke to win, having made as many mistakes as he did, it just shows how good a horse he is.

"If we can improve his jumping a little bit, he's going to be a very good horse."

Harrington added: "He's unbelievable. After the mistake he made at the second last, I thought that was his chance gone, but he doesn't know how to give up.

"They were going a step quicker today than they did at Navan last time and he just didn't jump as well. I'd say it was just that step up in class, but he'll have learnt a lot today.

"For a horse his size, I know he won his bumpers well, but everything he did last year was probably only a bonus compared to hopefully what he'll go on and do this year.

"He has plenty of stamina and three miles is no problem. Today was the plan. He's probably not a horse that takes a lot of racing. He had a hard enough race there and he won't be appearing for a while now."

Sky Bet cut Our Duke from 14/1 to 10/1 in their RSA Chase market and winners of this race do have an excellent recent record at the Cheltenham Festival.

Asked about an appearance in that race, the trainer said: "He could do. It kind of suits him with the hill and everything. We'll see what happens.

"That was probably as good a ground as he's ever run on. The only thing we were worried about was the ground and he doesn't seem to mind it."

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