Road To Riches has never finished out of the first three on all five of his chase starts over distances of 3m or further. These have also all been at Grade 1 level.
This is one reason why Noel Meade’s stable star looks overpriced at 9/1 to win the Punchestown Gold Cup.
The head of the market is dominated by runners that have performed admirably in the most high-profile staying chases this term.
Cue Card had landed the Betfair Chase and King George, before falling when well in contention to land a blow in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He has since made a degree of amends by triumphing in the Betfair Bowl at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
The second and third from Aintree re-oppose, with Don Poli switching places with Djakadam after the latter took bridesmaids honours behind Don Cossack at Cheltenham. Don Cossack misses out here because of a tendon injury.
What is worth noting with Road To Riches though is that he never took part in any of these races. Instead, Meade has somewhat strangely decided to campaign his horse over inadequate trips.
Having got to within four lengths of Coneygree in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Road To Riches has contested races over middle distances this term. His only foray over 3m came in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown on unfavourable heavy ground.
His jumping suffered as a result and the decision of jockey Bryan Cooper to attempt to force the pace some way out ultimately seemed to empty Road To Riches’ stamina as he finished second to Carlingford Lough.
The good-to-yielding ground at Punchestown will be much more to his liking and Davy Russell is on board, with Cooper taking the ride on Don Poli.
Cue Card is considered to be in the form of his life, but the fact that the front three in the market have had tough races at Cheltenham and Aintree before coming to Punchestown could count against them.
Road To Riches has avoided the same gruelling battles and back up in trip on his preferred ground, his each-way claims can’t be ignored.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.