Road To Riches up for the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown
David Metcalf | February 5, 2016
The Irish Gold Cup is the feature race on a stellar card at Leopardstown (15.40), and Road To Riches looks a worthy favourite to land the 3m Grade 1 contest.
Trained by Noel Meade, Road To Riches developed into a top class performer last season when winning three of his five starts.
After slamming Rocky Creek in a Grade 1 contest at Down Royal, Road To Riches showed tremendous battling qualities to beat On His Own in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase over course and distance.
Gold Cup form stands out
The nine-year-old then ran an absolute stormer to finish third to Coneygree in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, holding every chance at the last before being unable to find any extra close home to be beaten 3 1/2 lengths.
Road To Riches went on to round off the campaign with a decent third to Don Cossack in a Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival, when possibly feeling the effects of a hard season. He looked as good as ever on his return to action in November when easily beating Bright New Dawn in the Clonmel Oil Chase.
The son of Gamut suffered a setback after that success, but Meade reports him to be in terrific shape ahead of his eagerly awaited return to action.
Ryanair could be Festival target
Road To Riches is also the highest rated in the line-up off a rating of 165, and that gives him 5lb and upwards in hand on all his rivals and is going to make him extremely difficult to beat.
The Gigginstown House Stud owned gelding is currently 12/1 with Coral for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday, March 18th, but also holds an entry in the Ryanair Chase on March 17th for which is 4/1.
Given that Gigginstown have two of the market principals for the Gold Cup in the shape of Don Cossack and Don Poli, it may well be that Road To Riches ends up going down the Ryanair route if he comes through this test with flying colours.
Gilgamboa can go better than recent runs
Should Road To Riches fail to live up to expectations, then Gilgamboa may well be the one to take advantage.
The Enda Bolger trained gelding developed into a very smart novices chaser last season when winning three of his six starts, and showed a gutsy attitude in the last of those when beating The Tullow Tank in a Grade 1 contest at Fairyhouse,
It was a performance which suggested Gilgamboa needed keeping firmly onside, and that view was confirmed on return to action when third to Djakadam in a Grade 1 contest over 2m 4f at Punchestown.
Comeback run full of promise
Gilgamboa raced just off the pace, and after a mistake at the seventh kept on nicely to be gaining all the way to the line and beaten 13 1/4 lengths.
The eight year-old also ran well last time out under a big weight when fourth of 28 in a valuable handicap over course and distance, so looks the type who is open to further progress.
Whether can Gilgamboa stay 3m is the only question mark, but it was heavy going in that previous Leopardstown run and the ground this time is simply soft.
Coral’s top tip: Road To Riches is the class act in the line-up, so rates a solid bet to land the spoils. Gilgamboa is open to further progress and could prove the biggest danger.