Duke Of Navan: more likely to go to Aintree following his Kelso victoryPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Morebattle glory for improving Navan
Report: Kelso, Thursday
BetVictor Morebattle Hurdle 2m2f
PROMISING novice Duke Of Navan put up a herculean effort to defeat favourite Any Given Day in the Morebattle Hurdle.
Had the contest been a handicap, Duke Of Navan would have been in receipt of 17lb from Any Given Day, so off level weight he looked up against it on paper.
However, having been put to sleep at the rear of the field by Brian Harding, Duke Of Navan cruised into contention running to the second-last, before mastering the favourite and a bad mistake at the last to run out a convincing winner at 5-2.
The victory took Duke Of Navan's record over hurdles to three from four, his only defeat coming a Grade 2 at Cheltenham in November, where he'd finished a close fourth behind classy trio Dodging Bullets, River Maigue and Court Minstrel.
Thursday's performance was enough to prompt Ladbrokes into action, who go 33-1 about the Nicky Richards-trained five-year-old for the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle, although that race is an unlikely target according to the trainer.
Richards said: "We might just miss that this year, it looks a very tough race but I expect he'll go to Aintree.
"You have to be realistic and I don't see the benefit. We want to develop him and he's still a bit green and immature. He's all speed."
The race appeared to offer Any Given Day, who has been set some stiff challenges against the best staying hurdlers in recent seasons, the perfect opportunity of a first victory since November 2011 but after leading at the third-last, he had no answers to the winner on the run-in, having to settle for second as the 11-8 favourite.