Past Winners » Road To Riches


I am taking a chance with Road To Riches here against the top two in the market, Ned Buntline and Mallowney.

Both are high-class novice chasers, but both are vulnerable today. Ned Buntline ran a cracker to finish second in the Grand Annual on his most recent run, and he is undoubtedly a talented individual who should be at home on the ground. However, he is probably at his best in a big-field handicap when he has a fast pace and lots of horses to pass. He deserves to be favourite today, but he may not have the race run to suit.

Mallowney actually beat Ned Buntline at Naas in January, but he has been beaten in three runs since, and he found disappointingly little from the final fence at Leopardstown on his most recent run last month. On top of that, all his best form has been with cut in the ground. His four wins have been on soft or heavy ground, and three of those wins have been at Naas. He is three for three there. He just may not be at his best on the prevailing conditions today.

Road To Riches does not come without worries, we haven’t seen him since January, for starters, when he finished a distance behind Djakadam and Bright New Dawn. He had been pulled up in the Irish Arkle on his previous run.

However, the Gogginstown horse is a potentially high-class performer himself on his day. He was impressive in beating Foxrock in his beginners’ chase at Naas last November on his chasing bow, and he ran a cracker in the Drinmore Chase, leading to the second last fence before his stamina seemed to let him down over that two-and-a-half-mile trip.

He has won over two and a half miles, and he won a novices’ hurdle over three miles, but that was a wholly uncompetitive affair, and it may be that the drop back down to two miles will be in his favour. He could be afforded an easy enough time of it in front.

The fact that he has been off the track since January is actually a positive in my book. He goes well fresh. He won his point-to-point on what was effectively his first run (he fell at the first fence on his only previous attempt in a point-to-point.) He won his bumper on his seasonal debut in 2012/13, and followed up by winning his maiden hurdle a month later. Also, he won his beginners’ chase on his debut this term.

He jumped the stiff Fairyhouse fences well in the Drinmore Chase, that augurs well for today, and the goodish ground should suit him well. Paul Carberry would obviously have had the choice between Road To Riches and Ned Buntline, but it would have been surprising if he had not chosen Ned Buntline, he is a real Paul Carberry horse, and Barry Geraghty is one of that select group of first-choice jockeys that you ideally want to have on your side when you are having a bet.

It is a fascinating race. You can see Road To Riches leading to the second last fence with Ned Buntline moving easily in behind him before, hopefully, not being able to get past him. It is an intriguing race, but Road To Riches is the value.