Road to Respect takes advantage of Yorkhill's dodgy jumping

Eventual winner Road To Respect, far left, with Bryan Cooper up
Eventual winner Road To Respect, far left, with Bryan Cooper up

Road To Respect capitalised on Yorkhill's eccentricity to win a dramatic race for 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.

Road To Respect was himself a Cheltenham victor having claimed the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase, and Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, who owns the winner under his Gigginstown House stud banner, said: "He was great. Clearly the best horse finished second, but you have to jump them.

"Usually we struggle to win any of these Ryanair-sponsored races - normally Willie or JP (McManus) win them all, but it's very nice.

"I think Noel has brought him on incredibly well this year. His run in Cheltenham was fantastic. He is very closely related to Road To Riches, so I'd say clearly good ground is the key to him and he got good ground in Cheltenham and he got good ground here today.

"Yorkhill is clearly the superior horse, but we are very happy to win one."

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!"