A change of plan by Gigginstown House Stud and Gordon Elliott will mean Death Duty takes on Footpad in a fascinating renewal of the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Tuesday.
The indications had been that Death Duty, unbeaten in three starts over fences, would be in action at Grade 2 level over two and a half miles at Limerick the same day.
However, Elliott said on Saturday: “We were going to run Death Duty at Limerick but we changed plans and decided to give him a shot at the Grade 1 instead. He’s taking on Footpad, who looked very good when winning at Navan last month, but we’re going to give it a go.”
Footpad: impressed with his jumping on chasing debut at Navan
Caroline Norris (racingpost.com/photos)
Footpad is favourite for the Racing Post Arkle at Cheltenham in March, while Death Duty, who will be dropping in trip for Tuesday’s contest over two miles and a furlong, is joint favourite for the JLT Novices’ Chase at the festival.
Taking on the pair will be Any Second Now, Avenir D’Une Vie and Jett.
Unbeaten Triumph hope is gunning for Grade 2 glory
Also at Leopardstown on Tuesday the Gavin Cromwell-trained Espoir D’Allen, unbeaten in three starts over hurdles and a 10-1 shot for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, will face seven rivals in the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle.
With Death Duty rerouted to Leopardstown, Elliott will be represented by dual chase winner Tombstone and Gowran Park winner Dounikos in Limerick’s Grade 2 feature, the 2m3½f McMahons Builders Providers Novice Chase, in which Willie Mullins runs Al Boum Photo and Arbre De Vie.
The ground at Leopardstown on Saturday was described as yielding, good in places. Rain is forecast for Christmas Day, with cooler, unsettled weather to follow.
Al Boum Photo: made a winning chasing debut at Navan last time
Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Limerick was heavy, with some rain expected on Christmas Day, while the ground at Down Royal – which also stages racing on Tuesday – was heavy, soft in places, with showers forecast.
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