Road To Re­spect goes one bet­ter at Down Royal

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING / RESULTS / ROUND-UP -

ROAD TO RE­SPECT made an im­pres­sive start to the new cam­paign in the Cham­pion Chase at Down Royal. The Noel Meade-trained seven-year-old was nar­rowly beaten by fel­low Gig­gin­stown House Stud-owned run­ner, Out­lander, in this Grade One con­test a year ago, and was the 6/4 favourite for his sea­sonal reap­pear­ance un­der Seán Flana­gan.

It was not all plain sail­ing for the mar­ket leader, as he raced a lit­tle slug­gishly at the rear of the field for the first half of the con­test be­fore warm­ing to his task. He be­gan to make head­way rac­ing down the back straight and af­ter tak­ing over the lead from the front-run­ning and even­tual run­ner-up Wood­land Opera be­fore the home turn, Road To Re­spect bounded clear to seal a 16-length ver­dict.

Michael O’Leary’s Gig­gin­stown op­er­a­tion were claim­ing the prize for the sixth year in suc­ces­sion. “When he took that enor­mous leap at the fourth-last or fifth-last, he just jumped onto the bri­dle,” said Meade. “Seán said he was off the bri­dle just do­ing noth­ing be­hind and only jump­ing or­di­nary, but he said when he picked him up, he just went onto it straight away and he was just can­ter­ing from there to the line really.”

Mean­while, Cork’s ma­jor meet­ing of the year and the fi­nal Flat fix­ture of the cam­paign at Naas con­clude a hec­tic week­end of Ir­ish rac­ing this af­ter­noon.

The €50,000 Paddy Power Cork Grand Na­tional is tough to call at the Mal­low track, but Ma­jor Des­ti­na­tion could up­set the odds. His con­nec­tions had a win­ner on Fri­day and yes­ter­day at Down Royal, giv­ing rise to hopes that the seven-yearold could score here for Meade.

Michael O’Leary owns half the field in the Grade Three novice chase, but pref­er­ence for JP McManus’ Win­ter Es­cape. Vic­tory in this would be a ca­reer-high for trainer Ai­dan Howard, while Getar­ea­son dis­ap­pointed at Lim­er­ick, but can gain com­pen­sa­tion in the novice hur­dle.

Getar­ea­son’s trainer, Wil­lie Mullins, sup­plies ten of the 20 run­ners in the big one in Co Kil­dare. Naas’ meet­ing is the last on the Flat this sea­son, though all-weather com­bat con­tin­ues at Dun­dalk. Per­fect Ta­p­atino can deny Mullins’ bri­gade to take the Lo­cal Book­mak­ers Novem­ber Hand­i­cap. Mullins’ Law Girl is not his main run­ner in the Fi­nale Stakes, but she could cause a sur­prise.

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