Trainer Noel Meade says he’s reserving judgement on Road To Respect for now, despite his impressive Grade One win at Down Royal. The seven-year-old looked in great shape when securing the JNwine.com Champion Chase last week, seeing off the likes of Outlander and Balko Des Flos in the process, and appears set for another fine season.
Meade’s charge won last year’s Leopardstown Christmas Chase and then followed up with a creditable fourth in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Big things continue to be expected of him but Meade says now is not the time to get carried away.
“It’s hard to know whether he has improved or not because it’s hard to know whether the others ran up to par,” he said in the Irish Independent. “My second in command Damien McKillop was adamant that he was in fantastic form.
“He was weighing 22 kilos heavier than at any stage in his life before, he weighed at 562 kilos going up to the north. When he won his beginners chase he was 540 and that was the heaviest he had been at any stage. “I was actually worried but the two boys kept saying, ‘no, no, he’s right’ and they were right.
I was tempted to give him another piece of work but they said he was fit as a fiddle. He has improved but who knows how much.”