Meade targets Champion pay-day with Road To Riches

Noel Meade hopes to run Galway Plate winner Road To Riches in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on November 1.

Meade targets Champion pay-day with Road To Riches

Meade has always rated the seven-year-old highly and he is now beginning to repay that faith.

After his lucrative win at Galway he pushed the evergreen veteran Sizing Europe all the way at Gowran Park and while he will be running over three miles over fences for the first time next month, Meade feels he will stay the distance.

He said: “The plan is, he is entered in the big race and if I’m honest I’m hoping he will run in that race, but, he’s a Gigginstown horse and obviously there’s a lot of things to consider as they’ve a few horses with a lot of different trainers and everybody has to row in with the plan.

“I think at this minute the plan is to run him.

“We’re not sure whether he’ll get three miles to be honest. He’s won over three over hurdles but that was a lower level than will be required in this.

“Having said that he won the Plate over two-six and seemed to get home well on good ground and if the ground was good I think there’s every reason to suggest he would get three miles.”

Champion trainer Willie Mullins believes he has his strongest ever team with which to go to war with this season – a statement which will no doubt fill his contemporaries with dread.

Mullins’ list of established stars is frightening with the likes of Hurricane Fly, Annie Power, Vautour, Un De Sceaux and Faugheen all likely to pick up major prizes at some point during the season.

Add in to the list a couple of horses who missed last season through injury like Pont Alexandre and Sir Des Champs and there appears to be no weak link in any division.

However, it is the new recruits which are exciting Mullins at this time of the season.

“It’s as strong a team as we’ve ever had,” Mullins said.

“We’ve some really nice unraced horses and we’ve some really nice horses we bought from the point-to-point field.

“We bought more Irish pointers this year than we have ever, and along with some nice horses from France, there’s some really nice horses we haven’t seen yet.”

nThe WKD Hurdle at Down Royal is a likely next port of call for Tiger Roll following his determined victory at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Last season’s Triumph Hurdle hero disappointed on his final appearance of the last campaign at the Punchestown Festival, but bounced back on his return to action at Prestbury Park as he gave weight and a beating to Triumph Hurdle fourth, Calipto.

Gordon Elliott’s youngster is now set to head to Down Royal on October 31 for a race won last year by subsequent Champion Hurdle hero Jezki.

Eddie O’Leary, stud manager for owners Gigginstown House Stud, said: “It was a really good run, especially as he was giving away all that weight.

“If he comes out of it OK, we’ll look at the Down Royal race next.”

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