The Cooper’s of Coolrain will be hoping that Our Duke can rekindle his Irish Grand National winning form this Saturday in Gowran, ahead of his proposed run in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Trainer Jessica Harrington confirmed that Our Duke will be competitively tested in this weekend’s grade two Red Mills Chase, which current RSA chase favourite Presenting Percy is also targeting.
The grade two race is a two and a half mile long and will be the first time that Our Duke has dropped to that distance since his chasing debut in 2016.
Our Duke made a disappointing appearance in Down Royal in November where he subsequently picked up a back injury, but he then came back in Leopardstown’s Irish Gold Cup where his performance was more encouraging but a mistake at the second last meant that he had to settle for fourth place.
If Our Duke comes out of Gowran with a good result there will be a big dilemma for the horse’s connections. Robbie Power who rode Our Duke to glory in Fairyhouse last Easter is also the designated jockey for Sizing John, reigning Gold Cup champion. It would be thought that Sizing John would be his preferred ride in Cheltenham again.
If he comes up short in Gowran, then questions will be asked about his Gold Cup credentials for this season and considering the short period of time between the Cheltenham and the Irish Grand National it would be unlikely for him to feature in both.