Respect out to prove point in Irish Gold Cup

Meade star had troubled run in Savills Chase

  • Friday 01 February
  • News
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Road To Respect and Al Boum Photo feature in a final field of 10 runners for the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Trainer Noel Meade was left cursing his luck after Road To Respect stumbled twice on his way to finishing third behind the impressive Kemboy when bidding for back-to-back victories in the Savills Chase at the Dublin circuit in December.

The eight-year-old returns on Sunday in a bid to gain compensation, and bookmakers make him favourite to get back on the winning trail.

After deciding against running Kemboy this weekend, champion trainer Willie Mullins is left with two runners in Al Boum Photo and Bellshill.

Al Boum Photo made a smart start to his campaign when landing a Listed prize at Tramore on New Year’s Day, while Bellshill will be expected to improve significantly for his comeback run when fourth behind Kemboy over the festive period.

Several other runners from the Savills Chase return, including Henry de Bromhead’s runner-up Monalee.

The Knockeen-based trainer also saddles the ninth home that day in Balko Des Flos; Gordon Elliott runs the fifth and sixth in Outlander and The Storyteller respectively, and Joseph O’Brien sends the eighth-placed finisher Edwulf – a shock winner of last year’s Irish Gold Cup.

Elliott also runs Noble Endeavor, with Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly completing the line-up.

The first of four Grade Ones on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival is the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle, which has attracted 11 runners.

Elliott has a strong hand with Chief Justice, Coeur Sublime and Surin all declared, as does Joseph O’Brien – who runs course-and-distance winner Sir Erec along with Filon D’oudairies and Gardens Of Babylon.

Mullins is represented by Tiger Tap Tap – narrowly beaten by Sir Erec in December – and French recruit Lamarckise.

The Closutton handler is responsible for four of the nine runners in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle, headed by Aramon – winner of the Future Champions Novice Hurdle over the course and distance.

He is joined by another previous Leopardstown winner in Klassical Dream, the talented but fragile Prince D’Aubrelle and Elixir D’ainay.

The latter was last seen chasing home the Elliott-trained Vision D’honneur, who is another leading hope for this two-mile contest.

The Flogas Novice Chase throws up a fascinating clash between Elliott’s dual Grade One winner Delta Work and Warren Greatrex’s British challenger La Bague Au Roi.

Elliott also runs Limerick Grade Two winner Hardline, with Aidan Howard’s stable star Winter Escape also among the eight runners.

Respect out to prove point in Irish Gold Cup
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