It was not a blemish-free round by Gordon Elliott's highly-regarded six-year-old as he jumped a little ponderously early on and made one significant error in the www.tipperaryraces.ie Beginners Chase.
However, once Davy Russell decided to send him into a clear lead there was a notable improvement in his jumping.
Cap D'Aubois, a useful hurdler in his own right, tracked him throughout, with Inis Meain the only other serious competitor.
But Death Duty demonstrated on more than one occasion last year that he possesses a huge engine and after a slow leap at the last, he needed to show it again.
Ruby Walsh spotted that Elliott's Grade One-winning hurdler had slowed up going into the last and whereas Cap D'Aubois flew over it, Death Duty landed on all fours.
Russell briefly had to shake up the 1-5 favourite, but he quickened up efficiently and won cosily by three-quarters of a length.
Elliott said: "That's job done. That's the thing when you get messy races like that but he never came out of second gear.
"He is a very good horse and the one thing he has to be a champion is he has heart.
"He could have got beat there when he made the mistake but to be a champion you have to have the heart.
"I'd imagine we'll find one more race and then the Drinmore (Fairyhouse), all being well.
"He has won over two and a half miles last year.
"If he went down and winged the last, he'd have won six or seven lengths on the bridle and he could do no more than what he did.
"He is having a real good blow after it."