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Riches road to Gold is set for lift-off at Down Royal

By Frank Brownlow

Published 30/09/2015

Rich pickings: Paul Carberry and Road To Riches (left) after winning last year’s JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal
Rich pickings: Paul Carberry and Road To Riches (left) after winning last year’s JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal

Road To Riches will defend his JNwine.com Champion Chase title at next month’s Down Royal Festival as the first step on the road to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory.

Road To Riches was third behind Coneygree in the Gold Cup in March and trainer Noel Meade feels the Down Royal Festival feature on October 31 is an ideal way to start the campaign.

Meade, though, has not ruled out a warm-up at Punchestown on October 15.

“I spoke to Eddie (O’Leary, owner Gigginstown House Stud’s racing manager) and we agreed the Down Royal race would definitely be the plan,” Meade said.

“Whether we go to Punchestown or not before then I’m not sure, but he’ll definitely be going back to Down Royal.

“He loved it around there last year and I’m keen to go back.

“He has summered great and looks brilliant. He’s been back in for a while now and I couldn’t be happier with him, so it’s all systems go.”

Paul Carberry steered Road To Riches to victory in the £100,000 Down Royal Grade One last year, but is currently sidelined with a broken leg sustained at Listowel.

Meade has therefore been handing more opportunities to rising star Ger Fox, who won the Kerry National on Rogue Angel.

“Ger will ride most of mine now,” said Meade.

“He’s a good lad and does most things really well. He gets them jumping, has good hands and is really good in a finish, so I don’t think he has many chinks in his armour. I’ve been very happy with him.

“The other thing about Ger is that he’s a hard worker with a great attitude.

“He’s a lovely lad and hopefully he will continue to progress.

“It’s going to be a long haul back for Paul, unfortunately,” he added.

The two-day Down Royal Festival opens on October 30.

Meanwhile, Jody McGarvey says he owes Danny Mullins “a drink or two” after his fellow jockey shoved him back onto his mount, Old Supporter, at Roscommon on Monday.

McGarvey, who was about to fall when Mullins acted, said: “I was preparing to hit the ground. I certainly owe Danny a drink or two.

“It’s amazing the publicity it has got. The footage on Twitter has been viewed over 120,000 times, apparently.”

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