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Our Duke bids to give Jessica Harrington back-to-back Gold Cups
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Our Duke bids to give Jessica Harrington back-to-back Gold Cups
on 14 March 2018
The Jessica Harrington-trained Irish National hero heads a strong Irish challenge for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday

OUR Duke heads a strong Irish challenge for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Irish National hero bounced back to form in the Red Mills Chase last time, beating Presenting Percy.

Harrington won the Gold Cup with the sidelined Sizing John 12 months ago, whereas Willie Mullins has yet to taste victory in the Gold Cup but this year saddles Killultagh Vic, the mount of Ruby Walsh, Total Recall, Bachasson and Djakadam, who has twice finished second in the race.

Consistent chaser Road To Respect tries his luck for Noel Meade, with Gordon Elliott set to go into battle with Outlander.

Owner J.P. McManus is responsible for Irish Gold Cup winner Edwulf (Joseph O'Brien), last year's runner-up Minella Rocco (Jonjo O'Neill) and Anibale Fly (Tony Martin).

Might Bite has been the long-time favourite for the main event of the four-day Festival. He was a wayward winner of the RSA last year but he has looked a much more composed animal this season, although he is likely to face stiff opposition from the soft-ground-loving Native River, who was third in the Gold Cup last spring.

Definitly Red is also a worthy ally for North Yorkshire trainer Brian Ellison.

American was supplemented for the race by Harry Fry and will be joined in the line-up by Double Shuffle (Tom George), Saphir Du Rheu (Paul Nicholls) and the Nick Williams-trained Tea For Two, who will be partnered by Lizzie Kelly.

Richard Hobson has declared Shantou Flyer but he finished second to the Kelly-ridden Coo Star Sivola in the Ultima Handicap Chase on Tuesday.

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