Our Duke heads stellar field for Down Royal Champion Chase
Jessica Harrington’s star among 11 entries but Coneygree could head for Wetherby
Robbie Power celebrates Our Duke’s victory in the 2017 Irish Grant National. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Our Duke is the star name among 11 remaining entries in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday.
Jessica Harrington’s charge dominated the Irish Grand National as a novice last season and the sky is the limit for him this campaign.
Gigginstown House Stud are sure to field the main opposition and are responsible for six possible runners.
Last year’s winner Valseur Lido, who had his 2016-17 season cut short by injury, and Sub Lieutenant could represent Henry de Bromhead.
Noel Meade can choose from Road To Respect, who is improving at a rate of knots, and Disko.
Both horses also hold an entry in the Grade Two over two and a half miles on the same card.
Alpha Des Obeaux (Mouse Morris) and Outlander (Gordon Elliott) are the others for Michael O’Leary’s team.
Jonjo O’Neill has left in More Of That, while Coneygree is also still a possible — but both horses have the option of the Charlie Hall at Wetherby.
Zabana and Carlingford Lough complete the list.
The latter is trained by John Kiely, who said: “We’ve been very lucky that he’s stayed sound for so long.
“His legs might be getting a bit weary now and we’re just waiting to see where we stand with him.
“You only get the likes of this fella once in a life-time — he’s just exceptional.
“He had a run in Punchestown but was a bit rusty. They went a bit fast and he didn’t get much chance but I think the race will have brought him on a nice bit.”