“He’s a Gold Cup contender now, so he’ll so for the Gold Cup. Whether he runs in between or not, I don’t know” insisted winning trainer Noel Meade.
Road To Respect blitzed home a one-two-three for leading owners Gigginstown House Stud with Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John well beaten into seventh place the Leopardstown Christmas Chase which is formerly known as the Lexus Chase.
The winner, ridden by inform jockey Sean Flanagan and trained by Co.Meath handler Meade, powered to victory on the run-in to back up his other Grade One success in the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in April.
Winning jockey Flanagan stated: “He’s been a very good horse to me in general and did everything perfectly today, I’m delighted”
“I thought halfway down the back I was too far back and was flat out and couldn’t be much closer. There was no hiding place and it was a true-run race.
“To be fair when I got a bit of room he came alive. He’s got loads of speed. He’s a very good horse.”
He added: “I wouldn’t be worried about the (Cheltenham) Gold Cup distance as he settled well there, and he has won at the track before.”
Bookmakers reacted to the success by slashing Road To Respect to 8-1 from 20-1 for the Gold Cup, with King George winner Might Bite the 4-1 favourite from 11-2 and Sizing John out to 8-1 from 4-1.
Meade said: “Everything went according to plan. The hood obviously worked well. Sean rode him the other day and he said maybe a hood might help him to settle early on. He settled great and he gave him a most beautiful ride.
“I suppose when it works out it’s always a great ride, but it was actually an absolute peach of a ride” stated Meade