Road to Respect wins Champion Chase at Down Royal
Last year's runner-up Road to Respect has won the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.
It was a sixth successive win in the Grade One race for Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud operation.
Ridden by Sean Flanagan, the Noel Meade-trained seven-year-old hit the front three from home and powered away from second-placed Woodland Opera.
Outlander, aiming to become only the third horse to win this race twice, had to settle for third.
It was the 20th running of the race, which Beef or Salmon and Kauto Star have each won on two occasions.
Road to Respect, who finished fourth in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup and third in the Punchestown Gold Cup, was the 6-4 favourite for his seasonal reappearance.
It was not all plain sailing for the market leader as he raced a little sluggishly at the rear of the field for the first half of the three-mile contest before gradually warming to his task.
He began to make headway racing down the back straight and, after taking over the lead from the front-running Woodland Opera, Road To Respect bounded clear to seal a 16-length verdict.