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Published: 15:41 | 10/2/16

Riches decision to be delayed

Ground conditions will have a big say in whether Road To Riches lines up in the Timico Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

Noel Meade's charge was third in the blue riband last March and underlined his Gold Cup credentials when winning the Clonmel Oil Chase on his seasonal reappearance.

However, he could only finish second in the Irish Gold Cup at the Foxrock venue, leading to suggestions that he could be aimed at the Ryanair Chase instead of the Gold Cup, but Eddie O'Leary, racing manager for owners Gigginstown Stud, insists nothing has been decided.

"The ground was brutal in Leopardstown and that was never going to suit him, so we're not despondent," O'Leary explained.

"Like all of them, it will be between the Gold Cup and the Ryanair and we'll decide during the week of the race.

"It will depend on the health of the two Dons (Don Cossack and Don Poli) and the ground."

Gigginstown Stud have a wealth of talent at their disposal with Don Cossack and Don Poli among the leading contenders for the Gold Cup, while Valseur Lido gave a good account of himself before unseating Ruby Walsh at the final fence at Leopardstown.

"Whether Valseur Lido runs in the Gold Cup or the Ryanair we'll wait and see, but he was running a super race and he's thrown his hat into the ring," O'Leary added.

Retained jockey Bryan Cooper faces a tough decision ahead of the Festival with O'Leary happy to leave it with him.

"Bryan will ride whichever horse he feels has the best chance in both races," he confirmed.

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