Road To Respect must be strongly-fancied to complete back-to-back victories in the Grade 1 Savills Chase on the third day of Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival.
Conqueror of Balko Des Flos and Outlander in this race 12 months ago, Noel Meade’s charge ran creditably when fourth to Native River in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, where he had won a novice handicap impressively a year earlier.
The Gigginstown-owned gelding ended his season by disappointing when third behind one of his main rivals here, Bellshill, in the Punchestown Gold Cup.
The seven-year-old had reportedly strengthened over the summer, ahead of his seasonal debut in the Grade1 JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal early last month. And, with regular partner Sean Flanagan in the saddle, he produced a hugely impressive display to slam Woodland Opera by 13 lengths, with Outlander third and Balko Des Flos a distant fourth.
Road To Respect sets the standard in today’s 12-strong field and gets the vote to beat his Punchestown conqueror Bellshill, making his seasonal debut for Willie Mullins but whose form going right-handed is less than convincing.
Others to fear include Gordon Elliott’s mare Shattered Love, runner-up to Min in the John Durkan last time and sure to prove more effective on this return to three miles.
Stormy the pick at Limerick
Classy four-year-old Stormy Ireland should crown a good day for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend by landing the Grade 3 Irish Independent Hurdle in limerick.
The race has attracted a quality field of five, including last season’s JCB triumph Hurdle victor Farclas, which might struggle over this two miles.
Gavin Cromwell relies on Espoir D’Allen, a very promising juvenile last season before picking-up an injury and missing the spring festivals. He did make a successful return to action when beating Mr Adjudicator convincingly at Naas last month.
But Willie Mullins holds the aces, saddling both the selection and Saglawy, third to Wonder Laish in a competitive handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse last time, for Sullivan Bloodstock limited.
Stormy Ireland, a last flight faller in both the Triumph and Grade 1 juvenile event at Punchestown, is a useful performer and receives weight from her chief rivals.
Successful at Killarney last May, she slammed stable- companion Good Thyne Tara at Punchestown last month on her comeback run and, with no worries about the ground, should account for her four rivals.
12.10. Elite Charboniere
12.45. Pleasant Company
1.20. Tower Bridge
1.50. Apple’s Jade
2.25. Mighty Stowaway
3.00. Road to Respect
3.35. General Counsel
Double: Apple’s Jade and Road to Respect
O’Hehir’s Longshot: Foxy Jacks (12.10)
12.00. Melly And Me
12.30. Celtic Rising
1.40. Stormy Ireland (Nap)
2.45. Simple Steps
3.20. Lady Quill
3.50. Cobbler’s Way
Double: Undressed and Stormy Ireland
O’Hehir’s Longshot: The Grey Guy (3.20)
How to follow the Irish Mirror on social media
You can like our main Facebook page here.
Our Irish Mirror Sports Page – which brings you all your Irish and UK sports news – can be found here.
You can also check out our Irish Mirror GAA sports page.
Our Instagram account can be found here.