Robbie Power couldn’t be more excited ahead of Our Duke’s seasonal reappearance, the jockey expressing his believe that Jessica Harrington’s charge is getting quicker with maturity.
Our Duke won three of his four starts over fences last season, completing a remarkable novice campaign when he routed the field to win the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse in April.
Having also gone close in Grade One novice company behind the talented Disko previously, that Fairyhouse success left most onlookers excited by the prospect of what might be still to come from the seven-year-old.
Our Duke, 15/2 to win this season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, is set to make his comeback at Down Royal on Saturday in the Grade One JNWine.com Champion Chase over just more than three miles.
Power is eager to get started and reports the horse to be in flying form at home.
“He’s been back in a good while and is in great form,” said the jockey.
“Everything’s gone perfectly well with his preparation and he’s had a racecourse gallop.
“He’s as fit as we can have him without getting a run under his belt and we’re all looking forward to Saturday.”
Trainer Harrington won the Gold Cup back in March with Sizing John, amazingly, her first ever runner in the Blue Ribband.
He has been earmarked for the Betfair Chase at Haydock later this month, a race he is 13/8 to win. While any clash between the pair would invariably leave Power with a tough choice to make, he says there is no reason that Our Duke couldn’t be dropped in trip, if connections saw fit.
“I actually think that as he’s getting older he’s becoming quicker,” Power said of Our Duke.
“His work at home would suggest that as well, and if at some point he were to step back to two and a half miles, I wouldn’t be worried.
“He has an unbelievably high cruising speed and two and a half or three miles wouldn’t be any problem to him.”
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