Death Duty out to inflict killer blow to Monksfield rivals
'Monksfield' Novice Hurdle | 2m4f | 4yo | Grade 3 | ATR
Gordon Elliott is not usually one to talk up his horses but he has never hidden his affection for rising star Death Duty, who tackles Graded company for the first time here.
The five-year-old found only subsequent Grade 1 Punchestown bumper winner Blow By Blow too strong in a bumper last season and made a most encouraging debut over hurdles in a weak Roscommon maiden hurdle in October.
Elliott, who also runs Monbeg Notorious, said: “Death Duty is one we've always liked. He’s in good form and came on a good bit from his win at Roscommon and we're looking forward to running him.
“Monbeg Notorious is a big, honest galloper and maybe he would prefer a bit further, but he’s also in really good form.”
Noel Meade believes the step up in trip will suit the unbeaten Stretchingthetruth, who is owned by JP McManus and will be ridden by Barry Geraghty.
He said: “He just scraped in the last day, so he'd want to be a lot better than that if he's to have a chance. I think going left-handed will suit him better and I hope the distance will suit him as well."
Meade also runs She’s A Star. "She'll have to up her game quite a bit as it’s a hot race but we're hoping for the best with her,” he said.
The other McManus runner is the Enda Bolger-trained Stand Up And Fight.
"He’s a lovely, big horse and he won very well at Punchestown. I'm looking forward to him but everyone can see he's going to be a far better horse over fences," Bolger said.
Willie Mullins is represented by Livelovelaugh in the race and the master of Closutton also sends out last season’s top bumper performer Battleford for his first taste of hurdling action in the opener (12.10).
The card closes with a tasty mares' bumper featuring five previous winners in a field of 11. Two of those winners are the Gordon Elliott-trained pair Baby Twig and Three Swallowsnick.