Horses To Follow » Duca De Thaix

Duca De Thaix

Duca De Thaix ran well for a long way in the Grade 1 Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Chase. Free and keen on the way to post, he travelled well through his race for Davy Russell, and he was right there just behind the leaders and apparently travelling well on the run to the second last fence. He appeared to tire on the run to the flnal fence, and he was badly hampered when Voix Du Reve fell in front of him at the final fence. He only finished fourth of the four finishers, over 20l behind the winner Le Richebourg, but he ran a lot better than that.

This was a step up in class for Gordon Elliott’s horse, into a Grade 1 novices’ contest from handicaps, but he deserved a shot at this type of prize. Impressive in winning a 2m handicap chase at Fairyhouse on Hatton’s Grace Hurdle weekend in early December off a mark of 133, he went back to Fairyhouse in January and landed the Dan Moore Chase off a 10lb higher mark. His new mark of 151 made him the joint second-highest-rated horse in Saturday’s race, and just 3lb lower than the winner Le Richebourg. He may be under-rated on the back of this run, but it may be worth keeping him on side. The best two runs of his career have been at Fairyhouse on good ground, so he will be of particular interest if and when he goes back there. He is a half-brother to Antartica De Thaix, who won four times over two and a half miles, so it might be worth stretching him out in trip. As such, he could be an interesting outsider if connections aimed him at the Ryanair Gold Cup at the Irish Grand National meeting at Fairyhouse in April.

Leopardstown, 2nd February 2019