Road gets up to speed after scare
ROAD To Respect made an impressive start to the new campaign in the JNwine.com 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 contest a year ago, before enjoying his day in the sun in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase.
Meade’s charge went on to finish fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and third in the Punchestown Gold Cup and he was the 6-4 favourite for his seasonal reappearance under Sean Flanagan.
He raced a little sluggishly at the rear of the field for the first half of the three-mile contest.
He began to make headway down the back straight and after taking over the lead from 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.
Meade said: “I was sort of wondering what was going to Road to Respect go wrong because he was going so easy.
“When he took that enormous leap at the fourthlast or fifth-last, he just jumped on to the bridle. Sean 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 on to it straight away and he was just cantering from there to the line really.”
Paddy Power cut Road To Respect to 14-1 from 25-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.