Road gets up to speed af­ter scare

Sunday Sun - - Racing -

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 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.

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