Noel Meade considering Down Royal return for Road To Respect

Gold Cup fourth could start in Grade One Champion Chase

  • Monday 24 September
  • News
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Noel Meade has identified the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal as a likely comeback target for stable star Road To Respect.

The seven-year-old was narrowly beaten by fellow Gigginstown House Stud-owned runner Outlander in the Grade One contest last season and went one better in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase on his next start.

He rounded off his campaign by finishing fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and third in the Punchestown Gold Cup and Meade believes it is not out of the question his charge could be even better this term.

“He’s great. He looks great and everything has gone well so far,” said the Tu Va handler.

“He’s just ticking over at the moment. We’ll see how we go, but I’d imagine he’ll probably go up the north for the John Nicholson.

“Whether he’ll have a run before that, I’m not sure yet. There is the race he won in Punchestown last year, but it is fairly close to Down Royal.

“We’re hoping there’s a bit more improvement in him. He certainly looks the part.

“He improved a lot from his novice season to his second season over fences and hopefully he can improve a bit more to close that gap.”

Disko looked on a similar level to Road To Respect when making a successful start to last season in a Grade Two at Down Royal, but he has not been seen in competitive action since.

After suffering another setback last spring, Meade admits only time will tell whether the grey will realise his huge potential.

Meade added: “He got injured right towards the end of the season in his stable. I don’t know how he managed it, but he actually fractured his skull and crushed his wither.

“He’s back cantering away now and it’s a case of so far, so good.

“He’s a couple of weeks behind the rest of them and we won’t really know how it’s affected him until he starts doing stronger work.”

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