Yorkhill looked like he had the race in the bag but he showed his quirks as he tried to run out at the last and made a terrible error leaving the door open for Road To Respect
ROAD TO RESPECT took advantage of Yorkhill’s quirks to win a dramatic renewal of the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.
Despite jumping violently to the left, Yorkhill looked like making all the running as the field straightened up for home.
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old – winner of the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham – negotiated the second-last fine but took a long look at the final obstacle, where he almost ran out at the wing, before taking it clumsily.
That let in Road To Respect (7-2), who was left in front in the hands of Bryan Cooper on the run to line. Yorkhill rallied for Ruby Walsh and the 4-7 favourite closed with every stride, but the post came just in time for the Noel Meade-trained winner.
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Meade said: “We thought about running him in the (Irish) National. He worked on Wednesday and we just thought he might need another week. If he’d worked better we might have run him in the National, but it’s all worked out great.
“The other horse (Yorkhill) did it all wrong and we benefited from that. He’s obviously a very good horse. We were hoping Willie’s horse would do that and he did. All is fair in love and war!
“I think he’s a proper Grade 1 horse anyway. He was electric at Cheltenham and he’s proved it. I think our fella will improve and get further. I don’t know if he’ll go to Punchestown. We’ll have to discuss it with Eddie and Michael (O’Leary), but that more than likely will be it for this season.
“He’s a horse that doesn’t take a lot of work, and I think the less you do with him the better he is.”
Cooper said: “We went a good gallop and Ruby was obviously jumping out to his left and to be fair my lad was going a little left as well. I was jumping and winging everywhere and I was keen not to let Ruby off too quick. My lad took me everywhere.
“It’s hard to know what would have happened, but if Ruby had jumped the last any way well he would have won. He has given away so many lengths and is still on the bridle turning into the straight. He (Yorkhill) obviously has a massive engine. He had me cooked everywhere. They are there to be jumped.
“My lad is tough and galloped all the way to the line.”