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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020

Cooper's day at Leopardstown as Road To Riches wins Lexus Chase

It was jockey Bryan Cooper’s third win of the day.

Road to Riches jumps the last on his way to victory.
Road to Riches jumps the last on his way to victory.
Image: Niall Carson

THE NOEL MEADE-trained Road To Riches, ridden by Bryan Cooper, streaked home to the Lexus Chase title on Day Three of the Leopardstown Festival, claiming a €90,000 prize.

It was Cooper’s third win of the day, and a second Grade One victory after he landed the Christmas Hurdle in the fourth race of the day.

After a serious fall at Cheltenham earlier in the year Cooper made a stellar return to the track, winning three of the first six races on Ladies’ Day.

Speaking to RTÉ Meade said: “He’s a fair horse – we knew he was in great shape, and he’s just improved and improved all the time since Punchestown. He’s just got better and better every day.

“He is exciting and the way he came home, you’d imagine it’s all systems go for Cheltenham, I presume.

“You’d say he’ll get the trip the way he stayed on there, he really stuck at it well.”

After running a super race Sam Winner, with Sam Twiston-Davies on board, surrendered his lead to Cooper at the last fence while Paul Townend steered On His Own to second place.

Much fancied Bobs Worth, who started as the 5/2 favourite never got going and finished a long way off the pace on his return to competitive action.

The win has seen Road To Riches trimmed from 20/1 to 14/1 by Paddy Power for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Horse Racing - 2014 Leopardstown Christmas Festival - Day Three - Leopardstown Racecourse Source: Niall Carson

Earlier in the day there was a thrilling finish to the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown saw Lieutenant Colonel pip Jetson on the final straight to claim victory.

Trained by Sandra Hughes the five-year-old kept pace with Davy Russell’s Jetson for the whole race before moving past him after the final fence to claim the €48,000 prize and give Hughes her first Grade One victory since she took over the licence after the death of her father Dessie last month.

Cooper’s stead began the race as the second favourite at 4/1, with many punters fancying At Fisher’s Cross, ridden by AP McCoy, to take the title.

Despite the JP McManus horse keeping pace for much of the race he fell the 7-year-old fell away with a few flights to go, finishing in fourth while Monksland was third.

Earlier on Day Three of the festival, Identity Thief made a winning debut over jumps in the At The Races Maiden Hurdle.

The Henry de Bromhead-trained four-year-old was ridden to victory by Bryan Cooper, holding off the 6/4 favourite Snow Falcon to win by half a length in the first race of the day.

In the Irish Daily Star Novice Handicap Hurdle Ruby Walsh was on board 4/1 favourite Shemshal as he beat Mr Diablo by two lengths to claim the €11,385 prize. In doing so he became only the third favourite so far to win at this year’s festival.

And 20/1 shot Usuel Smurfer (20-1) gamely fought off Off The Charts to cause a surprise in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.

In the final race of the day the 9/10 favourite, Up For Review, ridden by Patrick Mullins took the Thornton’s Recycling National Hunt Flat Race by 10 lengths from Beyond The Obvious and Robin Thyme.

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