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Ryanair the race for Respect

Road To Respect Road To Respect
© Photo Healy Racing

Road To Respect is likely to run in the Ryanair Chase — rather than the Magners Gold Cup — at next week’s Cheltenham Festival, trainer Noel Meade has revealed.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned eight-year-old finished fourth behind Native River in the Gold Cup last March, and made a flying start to the current campaign with a wide-margin win in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.

He stumbled twice on his way to finishing a luckless third when defending his crown in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over the festive period and was narrowly beaten by Bellshill on his return to the Dublin circuit for last month’s Irish Gold Cup.

Road To Respect was as short as 12-1 for the blue riband at Prestbury Park next Friday, but Meade has confirmed he is now set to come back in distance for the Ryanair Chase the previous afternoon.

Meade told Press Association Sport: “That is the way we’re thinking at the moment — to run him in the Ryanair.

“We’ve had a discussion about it and we just feel he just didn’t quite get home in the Gold Cup last year.

“We think the Ryanair is a better option, so that’s the plan at the moment.”

Providing Road To Respect does take up his entry in the Ryanair Chase, his stablemate Tout Est Permis is set to stay at home.

“Tout Est Permis probably won’t go at all, unless something happens to Road To Respect,” Meade added.