Road To Riches: "He loved it there last year and I'm keen to go back"PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Meade star in line for Down Royal defence
ROAD TO RICHES is likely to begin his journey back to the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup at Down Royal on October 31, when he will defend his JNWine.com Champion Chase crown.
Trainer Noel Meade has pencilled in that Grade 1 as the ideal early-season target for this year's Gold Cup third, although he has not entirely ruled out a crack at the Star Best For Racing Coverage Chase at Punchestown on October 15 beforehand.
"I spoke to Eddie [O'Leary, owner Gigginstown House Stud's racing manager] this morning and we agreed the Down Royal race would definitely be the plan," Meade said.
"Whether we go to Punchestown or not before then I'm not sure, but he'll definitely be going back to Down Royal.
"He loved it around there last year and I'm keen to go back.
"He has summered great and looks brilliant. He's been back in for a while now and I couldn't be happier with him, so it's all systems go."
Increased opportunities for Ger Fox
Meade is without a stable jockey due to the nasty leg break suffered by Paul Carberry at Listowel and Ger Fox, who won the Kerry National on Rogue Angel, is set to receive more opportunities.
"Ger will ride most of mine now," said Meade. "He's a good lad and does most things really well. He gets them jumping, has good hands and is really good in a finish, so I don't think he has many chinks in his armour. I've been very happy with him.
"The other thing about Ger is that he's a hard worker with a great attitude. He's a lovely lad and hopefully he will continue to progress. It's going to be a long haul back for Paul, unfortunately."