Barry Geraghty: Cheltenham Festival Insights - Day 2

Barry Geraghty - Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Preview

I’m heading into day two a very happy man after Epatante’s win in the Champion Hurdle. I’m just so pleased because I didn’t think she’d pick up like she did on that ground. We travelled nicely into the race but you never know whether you’re going to be able to put the race to bed like that in those conditions, but her class shined through. JP turned 69 yesterday too, so I suppose that’s not a bad birthday present!

Ballymore Novices Hurdle – 1:30pm

As for today’s chances, we’d been given a bit of a tease as to whether Envoi Allen would turn up in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle but the inevitable was confirmed and he’s obviously the one we all have to beat, though I thought he was a bit workmanlike at Naas the last day.

I’m on Sporting John and you can’t make much of a case against him.

He’s done everything that’s been asked off him and beaten everything he’s had to beat so far.

Hopefully he continues to improve, and he shouldn’t have any problem if the ground comes up soft.

He doesn’t show massive amounts at home, but he does the business on the track and I thought he was impressive at Ascot last time.

Though we’ve not been to Cheltenham yet, there’s no reason why it should be a negative for him.

The Big Breakaway and The Big Getaway would both have a chance as well and it looks a very strong race.

RSA Novices’ Chase – 2:10pm

Next up for me is Champ in the RSA Novices’ Chase.

I wouldn’t have any concerns about him being off the track since falling in the Dipper.

He schooled very well last week and Nicky [Henderson] is very happy with him.

I’m expecting a better jumping performance and I wouldn’t swap him for anything else.

It’s a very competitive race, with the likes of Allaho, Battleoverdoyen, Minella Indo and Copperhead in there.

Coral Cup – 2:50pm

In the Coral Cup I had the pick of a few for JP [McManus] and it was a toss of a coin between Dame De Compagnie and Birchdale, but I’ve gone with the former.

She schooled well on Wednesday last week and felt great.

My concern with Birchdale was whether he has the experience for a 26-runner handicap around here.

Dame De Compagnie has the experience to get her through the hustle and bustle and we have a great chance in what looks a very competitive race.

Champion Chase – 3:30pm

I love the Champion Chase and have been very lucky in it over the years.

Defi Du Seuil is the most exciting horse I’ve ridden in a while.

He’s a brilliant jumper, shows great attitude, has pace and plenty of scope too.

It’s a shame there’s no Altior as he would have taken all the beating on his day.

Chacun Pour Soi is a bit like us in that he looks a progressive type and should handle the softer conditions too.

Fred Winter – 4:50pm

The other one I have is Mick Pastor in the Fred Winter.

He won well at Ludlow last time but now carries a lot of weight for that win and it probably wasn’t the strongest race.

Paul [Nicholls] has always held him in high regard and he had some very good form in France so hopefully he can live up to it.

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