Outlander leaves Our Duke out back at Down Royal
Gordon Elliott’s 16-1 shot leads home Gigginstown one-two in Champion Chase
Outlander ridden by Jack Kennedy on the way to winning the JNwine.com Champion Steeplechase at Down Royal. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Hot favourite Our Duke trailed home well beaten as Outlander held Road To Respect to give owners Gigginstown House Stud a one-two in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.
Jessica Harrington’s Irish Grand National hero neither jumped nor travelled with any real effect and could never get in a blow – though he did complete the course as last of the seven finishers.
At the front end, Outlander (16-1) landed the spoils by half a length for trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Jack Kennedy after a titanic tussle with Noel Meade’s Road To Respect in the closing stages.The always-prominent Zabana was a gallant third.
Kennedy said: “He was back to himself. He was very disappointing in Punchestown the last day [sixth behind Road To Respect in the Irish Daily Star Chase].
“I know it was his first run of the season but he never jumped a fence or anything.
“He never missed a beat the whole way and he jumped brilliant. The cheekpieces seemed to help as he travelled great. I’m delighted.
“We were spread out across the track and maybe if we had been a bit closer he might have even pulled clear. He was very tough.
“It’s great. He’s one of my favourites and I definitely won’t forget him anyway.”
Meade said of the runner-up: “We’re delighted with him but disappointed at the same time. He ran a cracker. His tendency to go left may have cost him in the end.
“I’ll talk to the owners but we might leave him now until Christmas and go for the one [Lexus Chase] in Leopardstown – it’s left-handed – then the Irish Gold Cup and the Gold Cup.
“That’s the vague plan I’ve got in my head.”