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Death Duty snaps four-year winless run to win Grand National Trial at Punchestown

Gordon Elliott confirms 11-year-old will go to either Cheltenham or Aintree next.

Death Duty on his way to victory at Punchestown.
Death Duty on his way to victory at Punchestown.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA

DEATH DUTY ROLLED back the years to claim top honours in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown.

Gordon Elliott’s charge was a Grade One winner over hurdles and fences in his pomp, but had failed to get his head in front since winning the Drinmore at Fairyhouse in December 2017.

Now an 11-year-old, Death Duty had not been disgraced in either the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown or the Thyestes at Gowran Park on his last two starts and he was a 6-1 shot for his latest assignment.

Ridden by Jack Kennedy, the veteran moved into the slipstream of stablemate Coko Beach rounding the home turn before taking over on the run to the final fence.

Champagne Platinum came home to good effect, but Death Duty never looked in any danger of being reeled in and passed the post with three lengths in hand.

Elliott said: “He did it well and Jack said he got into a lovely rhythm.

“He ran very well at Christmas but made a mistake at the first or second down the back in Gowran and just never got into the race then.

“Jack gave him a beautiful ride today and I’m glad it worked out. He’s a long time between drinks, the horse.

“He won two Grade Ones and it’s great to see him putting his head down there and galloping to the line.”

Paddy Power cut Death Duty to 25-1 from 50-1 for the Grand National at Aintree in April.

On future plans, Elliott added: “We’ve Cheltenham and Aintree and he’ll go to one or the other. He’ll be in the Kim Muir, the Ultima and in the English National.

“Seainin Mahon, the girl who led him up, rides him everyday and looks after him like a baby. He’s like glass and she does all the work with him, so big credit has to go to her.

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“Coko Beach ran a very good race. If we could ever get a really soft ground Grand National, it would be made for him. Considering the weight, he ran very well.”

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