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Wednesday 21 November 2018

Meade's stable star Road To Respect can deliver in style

WINNER: Road To Respect, with Seán Flanagan up, after winning the Leopardstown Christmas Steeplechase last December. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
WINNER: Road To Respect, with Seán Flanagan up, after winning the Leopardstown Christmas Steeplechase last December. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Road to Respect (4.10, Punchestown), no bigger than 25/1 for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup at this early stage, will start his season at Punchestown this afternoon.

Noel Meade's current stable star will return to the Grade Three contest he won last year when facing five rivals for his seasonal debut.

This Punchestown race has been a happy hunting ground for the maroon and white of Gigginstown as their Cheltenham Gold Cup winners War Of Attrition and Don Cossack have won it in the past, along with Roi Du Mee and Tone D'Oudairies meaning the O'Leary brothers have celebrated victory seven times in the last 10 runnings.

Outlander and Sub Lieutenant add to the Gigginstown team for today's feature, but Meade himself has also declared Snow Falcon who is a possible Ladbrokes Gold Trophy candidate and this looks a fascinating renewal.

Road To Respect was fourth in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham last season and third in the Punchestown equivalent over the course and distance back in April and if improving like Meade has hoped over the summer months, he'll prove hard to beat here.

Ruby Walsh got back among the winners yesterday and his first ride back over fences since Sunday's return could be fruitful with CADMIUM (3.40, Punchestown) set to reverse the form with Ornua.

This Grade Three novice heat is a tidy little race with Winter Escape not out of the considerations either, but now getting a 3lbs pull with Ornua and having made a mistake at a crucial time at Roscommon, Cadmium should be able to get back to winning ways.

Cadmium's trainer Willie Mullins secured a double at Punchestown yesterday when also landing the bumper and his well bred and well named GOLAZO (5.20, Punchestown) in the colours of the Stellar Football Partnership is given the nod in the finale today.

Gordon Elliott has a strong team going to Punchestown today.

Elliott won the opener yesterday despite having a leading fancy withdrawn at the start but BATTS ROCK (2.05, Punchestown), SILVER STAR (2.35, Punchestown) and KUIPER BELT (3.10 Punchestown) all have very strong claims.

The trainer will have got great satisfaction out of his placing of Kuiper Belt who has won five of his six starts for Elliott and the 2m4f handicap hurdle looks another ideal opportunity today.

Cronin's Choice

PUNCHESTOWN TODAY

2.05 Batts Rock

2.35 Silver Star

3.10 Kuiper Belt

3.40 Cadmium

4.10 Road To Respect

4.45 Sweet Destination

5.20 Golazo

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