Barry Geraghty Sporting Insights: 25/10/2019
Barry Geraghty’s Sporting Index blog: Best chance of a Cheltenham winner looks like Brelan D’As
I was delighted with Le Prezien in the Welsh Champion Hurdle last Saturday. He ran a great race to finish second, though he did pick up a cut and that will keep him on the sidelines for a little while.
Cheltenham – Saturday
It’s not March but Cheltenham is obviously still a nice place to have winners.
It’s not a straightforward track and the finish is very stiff, so you’ve got to be well aware of the early pace.
The ground should be nice as we’ve had a bit of rain. It tends to take racing better if there’s been a bit of rain rather than when it’s been watered, so it should ride well.
Minella Rocco is my first ride of the day in the 3m1f handicap chase (2:00).
He’s finished second in a Gold Cup, though that was two and a half years ago now and his recent form has tailed off.
He’s now 18lbs lower in the handicap and conditions look perfect for him but he’s still very hard to catch on the right day.
Jonjo [O’Neill] has been in good form so far this season and if Minella Rocco bounces back then he’d be in with a great chance.
Brelan D’As [15:10] is the one I’m most looking forward to this weekend.
He’s got some strong form in the book, including a third at the Cheltenham Festival in the Grand Annual, and then put in a nice run at Aintree.
He’s a horse that’s been knocking on the door in these high class handicaps and is in with a great chance on his first run of the season.
The big danger could be Saint Calvados, who was a talented novice and returns for the first time after a wind op.
In the 2m3½f novices’ chase (4:55) I ride Dead Right for Neil Mulholland.
He’s been very consistent, not finishing outside of the first two in all of his last five runs so hopefully that will continue.
He has plenty of experience on his side too, but this is a bigger ask and he’ll have to step up on what he’s achieved so far.
For me, the horse to beat has to be Paul Nicholls’ Secret Investor.
The closing bumper (5:30) is always a strong race with plenty of potential future stars in, so though I look to have a nice ride it’s hard to know what you’re up against.
Time Flies By has been showing all the right signs at Nicky’s [Henderson] and he’s a lovely horse but you never know how good the others are.
He’s been working nicely so hopefully he can transfer that to the track.
Wincanton - Sunday
I’m then at Wincanton on Sunday to ride Allelu Alleluia in the Desert Orchid Silver Cup (2:45).
A little bit like Minella Rocco on Saturday, he needs to improve markedly on his recent form but he was running well before that.
He’s won at Worcester and run well at Ludlow, so a nice flat track like Wincanton should suit.
The ground should be perfect for him and he’s got a good chance based on some of his previous form.