So easy for El Duque

El Duque (Lisa Allpress) proving too strong for the favourite Mr Luigi at Otaki yesterday.

El Duque (Lisa Allpress) proving too strong for the favourite Mr Luigi at Otaki yesterday.

The well-related El Duque has been a major beneficiary of a recent investment made by his Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh.

The rising five-year-old stamped himself as one of the country’s more progressive winter gallopers with his clear-cut defeat of the highly-regarded Mr Luigi in yesterday’s Il Cavallo @ Chequers Stud Handicap at Otaki.

“I put in a treadmill and he lives on it,” said Marsh. “He hasn’t got good knees or fetlocks so it’s been a massive help to him. He swims as well and just has the odd gallop.”

El Duque has fashioned the smart record of four wins from his nine starts and his success atoned for a previous out of character performance.

“He’s never raced any good at Te Rapa. He’s had a couple of starts there now and done the same thing both times,” said Marsh.

El Duque was taken straight to the front at Otaki by Lisa Allpress and forged clear in the closing 200 metres to triumph by a length and three quarters.

“I think the second horse is a very good one and I said to my owners that if we beat Mr Luigi we’ll win,” said Marsh.

A half-brother by Bachelor Duke to the Gr. 1 BMW Stakes and Gr. 1 Turnbull Stakes winner Littorio, El Duque’s latest success is likely to see him return to the central districts next month.

“The Interprovincial Challenge at New Plymouth looks like the race to go for now,” said Marsh.

– NZ Racing Desk.