Our Duke on comeback trail
The Jessica Harrington-trained Our Duke is set to get his season back on track in next month's Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown after he topped the entries for the Grade One contest.
A winner of the Irish Grand National last season with a mightily impressive effort as a novice, Our Duke was soundly beaten on his reappearance in the Champion Chase at Down Royal in November over three miles having gone off as the odds-on favourite.
He never appeared to be going with any enthusiasm in that contest and was subsequently treated for kissing spines.
He's now back on the road to recovery and Harrington is hoping for a big run at Leopardstown, where Our Duke is 3/1 to win the Irish Gold Cup, en route to the Cheltenham Festival version in March.
"He's run well fresh in the past and if we can have him in the same sort of form he was in when he won the Irish National then he should run a big race in the Irish Gold Cup," said the trainer.
Our Duke could run into Road To Respect, winner of the Grade One Leopardstown Christmas Chase, on 4th February. Noel Meade's charge is 999/1 for another big Leopardstown success while Willie Mullins has entered 4/1 chance Killultagh Vic alongside dual Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam.
Our Duke's big race partner Robbie Power was soon aware all wasn't going to plan on his reappearance at Down Royal but he's much happier with the eight-year-old now.
"I knew at Down Royal something was amiss because he never travelled and he was treated for kissing spines, which is the equivalent of a human having a slipped disc," Power wrote in his blog.
"But he's jumping and moving super at the moment, he's in great form and I couldn't be happier."
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