Navan: Duty downs rivals to enhance festival claims

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Death Duty: an impressive winner of the Navan Novice Hurdle

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

 By Alex Wiltshire 12:55PM 18 DEC 2016 

Report: Navan, Sunday

Navan Novice Hurdle (Grade 2), 2m4f, 4yo+

DEATH DUTY continued his unbeaten record over hurdles with an authoritative performance at Navan to enhance his claims for Cheltenham glory in March.

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The clash between the Gigginstown-owned five-year-old and the Willie Mullins-trained Invitation Only was expected to be a tight tussle, however Death Duty, conceding a 3lb penalty to his rivals for success in the Monksfield Hurdle last month, was not troubled in winning by three and three-quarter lengths from long-time leader Monalee.

Invitation Only travelled behind the leading pair, but had no response as Death Duty kicked for home after the second-last and trailed in third.

Labaik, as he did at Fairyhouse in the Royal Bond, refused to race.

The Gordon Elliott-trained winner has replaced Invitation Only as the favourite for the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle and is now 8-1, while he has tightened his stranglehold at the head of the Albert Bartlett market and is into 4-1 (from 8s).

Elliott said: “He’s a horse we’ve always liked a lot. He’s taken to hurdles really well and we thought he had improved from his win here last month. Bryan [Cooper] said he was more on the bridle today.

“The Grade 1 Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle over the same trip at Naas on January 8 is the plan.”

 

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