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Published: 10:30 | 1/3/16

Meade unsure about Riches target


Noel Meade does not know whether Road To Riches will line up in the Timico Gold Cup or the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival later this month.

Third in the blue riband last March, Road To Riches was a distant second in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month due to the testing ground conditions, but the nine-year-old is far from certain to line up in the Gold Cup.

Connections have the option of running him in the Ryanair Chase and Meade insist the decision will rest with Gigginstown Stud owner Michael O'Leary and his brother Eddie.

"I'll be straight and honest with you - since his last run, I haven't spoken to Michael or Eddie about what he's going to run in," Meade told At The Races.

"Basically I've been getting him ready to run in Cheltenham and I'm sure we'll have a chat about which race he's going to run in. But at this stage I can't enlighten anybody any more at the moment because as far as I'm concerned, he's [just] going to Cheltenham.

"I would prefer he'd run in the Gold Cup but, look, I don't own the horse and he [Michael] does. He has quite a few horses in the race so whatever he's going to be the one to call who's calling it. But we'll wait and see. The whole thing as far as I'm concerned is getting him in the best shape I can and having him in Cheltenham anyway."

Meade believes his poor run at Leopardstown can be blamed on the ground and he is pleased with how the horse emerged from the race.

"I'd say he's a much better horse on better ground. Certainly, the ground at Leopardstown the last time was very, very bad," he said.

"A lot of horses didn't operate on it and I'd say he didn't operate on it because we'd been very happy with him going into it. He never really operated through the race. He's come out of it well though and he's on good terms with himself."

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