Barry Geraghty Sporting Insights 24/01/2020

Barry Geraghty: Champ’s back over fences and feels none the worse for Dipper fall

Barry rides Time Flies By in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (3:00pm) at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Last weekend

I was at Nicky’s [Henderson] yard this morning to pop a few fences with Champ. He jumped well and feels none the worse for his fall in the Dipper at Cheltenham.

The Denman Chase at Newbury has been suggested as a possible next step but nothing is confirmed and there’s the option of the Reynoldstown at Ascot too. Either way, the plan is to get another run into him before Cheltenham.

Defi Du Seuil was very good in the Clarence House last weekend, and I don’t think the pace of the race was the reason we won it. More of a stamina test would have suited us as well and I think we would have ended up with the same result.

There will be no rush in finalising plans and I’m looking forward to the Festival regardless of which race we go for.

If we do turn up in the Queen Mother Champion Chase then we may have to face Altior. He’s a very good horse that hasn’t done much wrong, but more recently he seems to have become more workmanlike over two miles and has looked like he would appreciate further. Chacun Pour Soi is another interesting horse in the Champion Chase picture and he looks to have plenty of potential.

Everyone feels for Richard Johnson after breaking his arm in the week. There’s no bigger gentleman in the weighing room than Dickie and we wish him a speedy recovery.

It’s a tough one for him given the way the title race has been going but thankfully the break is below the elbow. His movement won’t be too restricted, particularly with a plate in, so his recovery shouldn’t be too bad.

Brian Hughes is a lovely fella too and he’s done well to put himself in the position he’s in. It would be great for northern racing to have a champion jockey.

Festival Trials Day

My only ride on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham is Time Flies By in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (3:00pm).

We were third at Ascot in the Supreme Trial last time out, which was a good run for a horse having his first start over hurdles.

He jumped a little bit carefully early on but then warmed to it nicely and wasn’t disgraced it what looked a strong race.

You’d like to think he’ll come on a lot for that experience and we hope he’s still a live Festival contender, that’s what we’re all working towards.

This a good, competitive race but we’re open to improvement and he’s the sort of horse who should be getting involved at this level.

Protektorat has some good course form and should have a big say.

The Cotswold Chase looks a good renewal, with the likes of De Rasher Counter, Santini and Slate House in there, but I’d have to side with Bristol De Mai.

His form is rock-solid and when you get soft ground on a staying track he’s very good.

Paisley Park is more than rock-solid in the Cleeve Hurdle.

He hits flat spots and looks workmanlike from time to time, but he still wins with his ears pricked at the death and I expect him to do so again on Saturday.

If The Cap Fits is an interesting contender but I think Paisley Park is a long way ahead of everything else around him.

If Benie Des Dieux lines up in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, that represents a totally different challenge for Paisley Park.

Willie [Mullins] is suggesting she could be the best mare he’s ever trained and I think she’d give him a real test.

Naas on Sunday

Check out all our Naas spread betting markets and fixed odds markets.

I’ve got two rides at Naas on Sunday, starting with Off You Go for Charles Byrnes in the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle (1:40pm).

He’s not quite cut it over fences on his last couple of starts so reverts to the smaller obstacles.

On ratings he’d have a chance of getting involved, though Stormy Ireland looks like taking all the beating.

Lou Trek (I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle, 2:40pm) burst a blood vessel last time, so you can put a line through that run and expect better this time around.

He’s got some fairly good bumper form and is a horse with potential, so hopefully he can put his best foot forward.

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