Road To Respect has put himself in the frame for the Cheltenham Gold Cup with his victory in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase in which Sizing John finished distressed.
The winner, ridden by Sean Flanagan, powered up the run-in to back up his other Grade One success in the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in April.
The 16-1 shot was chased home by Henry de Bromhead’s Balko Des Flos (66-1) and the Gordon Elliott-trained Outlander (8-1).
Paddy Power slashed Road To Respect to 8-1 from 20-1 for the Gold Cup, with King George winner Might Bite the 4-1 favourite from 11-2 and Sizing John out to 8-1 from 4-1.
“Everything went according to plan. The hood obviously worked well. Sean rode him the other day and he said maybe a hood might help him to settle early on. He settled great and he gave him a most beautiful ride,” Meade said.
“He’s a Gold Cup contender now, so he’ll go for the Gold Cup. Whether he runs in between or not, I don’t know.
The seven-year-old Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John was reported to be distressed following the race and found to be clinically abnormal after being examined by veterinary staff.
“He just didn’t spark today, the vets have found there’s something wrong with him, so he’ll get home safely tonight and Jessie’s vets will look at him in the morning,” jockey Robbie Power said.