Lexus Glory For Road To Riches
Road to Riches capped a remarkable day for Gigginstown House Stud and jockey Bryan Cooper when he powered to victory in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
The Noel Meade trained gelding provided Cooper and Gigginstown with a Grade 1 double after earlier scoring with Lieutenant Colonel in the Christmas Hurdle. Road To Riches was sent off the 4/1 second favourite and was prominent throughout, along with Sam Winner and On His Own. Remarkably it was those three horses that battled out the finish after going hammer and tongs from the outset.
The in-form, Cooper, who was partnering his third Grade 1 winner of the week, rode his mount back into contention before the second last before gaining the upper hand after jumping the final flight, on the way to a one and a half-length victory. The winning jockey said, “His jumping wasn’t great down the back the second time and I was a little bit worried but I knew we were after going a good gallop so I tried to fill him up as much as I could.
“What I really liked was that he stuck out his head from the back of the last and showed that he got the trip.”
Astonishingly Meade is the only Irish trainer to saddle the winner of the prestigious three mile contest since 2005, adding to Pandorama’s victory in 2010 and he commented afterwards, “I’m thrilled. Things didn’t go quite to plan as we thought we’d be able to make it. He was getting hassled up front early on but it worked out well in the end.”
“I’ll have to talk to Michael and Eddie. I don’t know if he’ll run again but obviously we’re hoping to go to Cheltenham.”
The Gigginstown silks were also carried to victory by Cooper in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle, on the Sandra Hughes trained, Lieutenant Colonel.
The Hatton’s Grace Hurdle winner confirmed the form with the second placed Jetson, in a ding-dong battle from the back of the last hurdle. Jetson set out to make all under jockey Davy Russell, but had to settle for second place once again when Lieutenant Colonel loomed up on the outside entering the straight, going on to win by three parts of a length, the pair pulling clear of Monksland who finished third.
It was a second Grade 1 success for trainer, Hughes since taking over from her late father, Dessie and she revealed, “”He was very, very good. We thought that he stayed and I’m delighted. He was brilliant.”
“He’s very economical in his jumping. He stays well and has a bit of class – that’s what you need in the three-mile Grade 1.”
Cooper and Gigginstown House Stud started their remarkable day in fine fashion when the Henry De Bromhead trained, Identity Thief made a winning debut over hurdles in the opening At The Races Maiden Hurdle.
In the Novice Handicap Hurdle Tony Martin recorded his third winner of the week when 4/1 shot, Shemshal swept down the outside to give Ruby Walsh his first winner of the festival.
And the concluding bumper went the way of the Willie Mullins trained, Up For Review who ran out an eye catching ten length winner under the trainer’s son Patrick, a performance that earned him a quote of 14/1 for the Champion Bumper with Paddy Power.
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