The Noel Meade trained Road To Respect is making good progress in his recovery from a serious injury and his handler is hoping that the stable star can make a return before the end of the season during the spring festivals.
The nine year old owned by Gigginstown House Stud owned gelding has landed four Grade Ones during his career and two of those have come in his beloved race that takes place on Saturday at Down Royal, with the Ladbrokes Champion Chase.
He managed to sweep aside dual King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux in the race last year, but will unfortunately miss the event this term and although his handler is disappointed, he is just happy to get him back racing at some point this term.
(Credit ATR) “Road To Respect had a little bit of filling in his leg after doing his tendon at Leopardstown,” said Meade.
“Over the last couple of years, it’s been very quick there, and we ended up having to fire him.“He’s not back in training yet – I would hope he’ll be back in the next month or so and that he might be able to run in the spring.
“But, until we have him back and put him back in the gym, we really won’t know whether he’s going to be back this season or not.
“He’s a genuine Grade One staying chaser – but to be honest, the ground at Leopardstown has been a bit of his undoing. I don’t think he got over his run there the year before last (beaten a short-head by Bellshill) before he went to Cheltenham.
“He probably struggled to get the Gold Cup trip – three miles might be as far as he wants, but it’s hard to say that.
“A lot of times in the Gold Cup horses who stay three miles don’t actually get those last two furlongs, because it’s a real stamina-sapping contest.”