Road deserves major respect
Entries for the premier races at the Dublin Racing Festival were revealed yesterday and the Irish Gold Cup has attracted all the big names from this side of the water, at least.
It will be a while before Cheltenham loses any gloss, but you just wonder how long English connections will be able to resist having a crack at the big prize money over here pre-March at this Leopardstown meeting and post-Cheltenham at the likes of the Punchestown Festival.
This year's Irish Gold Cup might also see a few notable Irish non-runners, though, and that points towards ROAD TO RESPECT being a good value bet at 5/1 here.
Noel Meade sent his Gold Cup hope straight to Cheltenham after winning the Christmas Chase at Leopardstown last season, but a torrid passage through that race in December has left Meade opting to run him in between.
Road To Respect was only seven and a half lengths away from Kemboy, albeit with Kemboy being an easy winner at Christmas, but given that Road To Respect was nearly on the ground at least twice twice during the race, it was a fairly remarkable effort to get back up for third place.
If there was to be a market mover in this race over the weekend, you could predict that Monalee would be popular at 8/1. Henry de Bromhead's horses are absolutely flying and if he settled a bit better, he'd go close, but it's fair to have good reason that Road To Respect could reverse the form.
The 5/1 on offer for Road To Respect also looks good for other reasons.
The Gigginstown runner certainly likes the course and distance and won't be inconvenienced by the ground.
Kemboy is favourite at 9/2 but is more likely to go straight to Cheltenham, according to Willie Mullins.
Al Boum Photo skipped Leopardstown at Christmas in favour of easier ground at Tramore but if there's no major rainfall by the start of next month, Al Boum Photo might not be tried in the Irish Gold Cup either.
Presenting Percy, like Al Boum Photo, is also a 5/1 shot, but he looks to be Gowran Park bound so if you were to take those four out of the race Road To Respect becomes a lot shorter.
It's another major fixture to look forward to and it's a few weeks away yet, but Road To Respect looked the first stand-out bet yesterday.