Connections rule Mallowney out of Cheltenham

Tim Doyle has no intention of preparing stable star Mallowney for a trip to the Cheltenham Festival following his brilliant victory at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

The nine-year-old was an 8-1 shot for what appeared to be a fiercely-competitive Dan Moore Memorial Chase, but turned the €100,000 event into a procession as he coasted home in the hands of Davy Russell.

Connections would be perfectly entitled to be dreaming of a trip to Prestbury Park in March, but Doyle is favouring staying at home.

He said: “Everything is good, he’s come out of the race well and took nothing out of himself.

“I expected him to run well, but I didn’t expect him to do what he did. I was both surprised and delighted.

“I’d say his handicap days are over for now and the plan is to run in the Newlands Chase, which is a Grade Two, in Naas at the end of February.

“I don’t think he’ll be going to Cheltenham this year. He’s relaxed a good bit since last year, but he is a nervous sort of horse.

“Although he’s a nine-year-old now, I do think he could be better in a year’s time.

“I’d say we’ll stay at home with him as there are plenty of good prizes over here for him, including the Champion Chase at Punchestown.

“If we do cross the water with him, I’d say Aintree would be more suitable for him than Cheltenham, but we’ll see.

“We’ll probably just stay in Ireland.”

Road To Riches will skip the Irish Hennessy and head straight for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Trainer Noel Meade has decided to stick to a tried and tested route and keep his stable star fresh for the blue riband event.

Winner of the Galway Plate last July, he was progressed to win the Chase at Down Royal and the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown at the highest level.

“He’s going straight to Cheltenham. He’s going to have an easy January and we’ll start building him up again,” Meade told At The Races.

“If I had to train him for the Hennessy, I’d have had to train him for the whole month of January. Now I’m able to give him a break and give him a little time off.

“That’s what I did before the Plate, before Down Royal and before the Lexus so I may as well do it again.

“He’s good and came out of the race great.”

Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable have been announced as the new sponsors of the race formerly known as the Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival.

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