Monday 23 September 2019

Road To Respect goes one better at Down Royal

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

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-year-old 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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