'Another half mile shouldn’t be any problem to him'
Death Duty's breeder Geoffrey Thompson answers the key questions
Do you still have Death Duty's dam, Midnight Gift? We still have the mare, she's in foal to Yeats. She also has a three-year-old colt by Beneficial going to the Derby Sale, and a two-year-old filly by Stowaway.
Why did you decide to send Midnight Gift to Shantou? The family had bred a good winner to Flemensfirth, who is a son of Alleged, and Shantou is also by Alleged. They seem to click with the family, the trouble now is there is only two sons of Alleged left and they are both over twenty. It’s a pity that the sire line is coming to an end.
What are your memories of Midnight Gift as a racemare? Tom Hogan trained her and she was black type-placed over hurdles. She might have been better over fences but we didn’t want to risk her so we retired her after her hurdling career. She won two hurdles and a bumper for us.
How did you acquire the mare? We’ve had the family going back four generations. My late father bought the foundation mare Ballinacree, a half-sister to Champion Chase winner Lough Inagh, from the late Dick Coffey, who lived in Ballinacree, County Tipperary.
Have you bred any previous winners at the Cheltenham Festival? One Knight won the Royal And Sun Alliance Chase at Cheltenham. The main ones we have bred from that family are Death Duty, Foxrock, One Knight and Shannon Spray.
What do you think about Death Duty’s chance at Cheltenham? He won well at Naas so another half mile shouldn’t be any problem to him. Whatever he does over hurdles now is a bonus. We think he is going to be a better chaser than a hurdler. He has the stamp of a chaser and jumps particularly well.