Barry Geraghty Sporting Insights 30/12/2019

Barry Geraghty: All eyes will be on Sizing John

Punchestown on New Years Eve

After two years off the track, all eyes will be on Sizing John’s return in the 2m3½f Punchestown Hurdle (1:45pm) on New Year’s Eve.

I think Robbie [Power] will be on the sidelines for a week or so following his fall at Leopardstown on Saturday and it’s a great ride to pick up.

I’ve been lucky enough to ride a fair bit for Jessie [Harrington] over the years and I’ve had over 150 winners for the yard.

I’ve spoken with Jessie and she said he’s in great form. He’s been doing plenty of work, the yard are very happy with him and it looks like a nice race to bring him back in.

He’s been on the go since the autumn and has had a lot of work put into him so he should be ready to roll.

The main thing we’ll all be looking for is for him to show some of his old spark. It wasn’t a bad injury but sometimes it just takes time to get them right and I know she’s happy with him now.

The acid test is being back on the racecourse, and I don’t think we’ll get all the answers the first day back, but we’ll be looking to see if that spark is still there – hopefully it is.

In terms of the type of race, I wouldn’t be put off by the fact that it’s over smaller obstacles and a shorter trip.

He showed plenty of pace as a novice and is a Grade 1 winner over 2m, 2m4f and 3m+, so you would hope he still retains some of that.

Roaring finish at Leopardstown

Fitzhenry got nabbed late by Roaring Bull in the big handicap chase at Leopardstown on Friday.

I knew there was something coming because I was pushing away and then all I could hear was Jerry’s [Hannon – commentator] roar over the PA system, so I knew we were in trouble!

I was just pushing away and praying for the line but, no, he beat me well in the end. By the time we got to the line he was well up, but it was still a good run from my horse.

The handicapper won’t make it any easier for Fitzhenry going forward but hopefully he’ll get his turn soon.

I was also second on Unowhatimeanharry, who showed plenty of his old self in the Grade 1 Frank Ward Memorial Hurdle.

I thought we were in with a chance jumping the third-last, but Apple’s Jade looked more or less back to her best and was too good on the day.

Unowhatimeanharry might not quite be what he once was but he’s still very competitive on his day.

He absolutely loves the game, is a joy to ride and should stay in training for all the time he’s enjoying it.

I wouldn’t know if he’ll be going for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham or not, though I’d imagine there’s a good chance he’ll come back to Punchestown in the spring to defend his crown.

As for Apple’s Jade, she could give Paisley Park something to think about if she can bring that form into the spring, though that has been an issue in the past.

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