Barry Geraghty's Sporting Index Blog
Buveur D’Air feels brilliant and Nicky is very sweet on him
We’ve got an exciting season ahead and I’d like to start by welcoming you all to my new Sporting Index blog. Hopefully I can provide you with some good insight on my rides and you’ll enjoy hearing my thoughts on all of racing’s big talking points.
I was over at Seven Barrows on Friday morning where I schooled Champagne Platinum, Birchdale, Rathhill and Buveur D’Air. Even though it’s only their initial schooling, they all felt well and there’s certainly a lot to look forward to.
Buveur D’Air, in particular, felt brilliant and Nicky [Henderson] is still very sweet on him. He seems to have retained plenty of his ability and he showed great enthusiasm in his work.
I also sat on Defi Du Seuil a couple of weeks ago and he felt great. He’s a lovely horse with great pace and I’d expect him to be out on the track in the next couple of weeks.
One other thing I’m looking forward to seeing is the progression of young Jonjo O’Neill Jr.
He’s very natural and has the knack of making the right decisions. His win on Early Doors in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham showed he has what it takes to deliver on the biggest stage of them all which is so important too. That’s what you’re judged on.
I might be getting older but I don’t feel any different in terms of fitness. With age comes a steadier lifestyle and I think I might be even fitter than I was 5-10 years ago. The sport has become more professional and things like nutrition and conditioning have improved greatly.
I’m feeling great heading into this season. I’ve been busy riding out, I’m still loving it and look forward to getting the season underway.
I’m over at Chepstow on Saturday to ride Didtheyleaveyououtto in the Silver Trophy (4.30pm).
He was good last season and before that had some nice form from a couple of strong bumpers.
I won on him at Fakenham and Ascot, where he beat a nice horse of Olly Murphy’s called Thomas Darby.
Unfortunately, he didn’t turn out to be quite as progressive as we thought he might be, only managing to finish fifth at Kempton over Christmas and then ninth, but not beaten that far, in the Betfair Hurdle at Ascot.
Obviously those were both very strong races, though, and a return to his previous form here would put him right in the mix.
His most recent run at the Galway Festival was obviously disappointing, but that was a big step up from two miles to 2m7f and I’d put a line through that.
On Saturday it’s just short of two-and-a-half miles, and given he was a little one-paced on his last start over two miles at Ascot, I’d expect we might see a bit of improvement at this trip.
It’s going to be pretty testing ground by the looks of it. He’s only competed on good and good-to-soft, so it will be interesting to see how he goes in the conditions, but with age on his side you’d hope that he would handle it.
As for the obvious dangers, Paul Nicholls has the battalions out early this season and he’ll be seeing this as a big day. You’d think his Greaneteen would have a nice chance and he’s got lots of other good runners across the card.
Imperial Aura did very well all of last season and Kim Bailey has being enjoying plenty of winners over the last couple of years so he’s another who could go close.
As you’d expect, it’s a very strong and competitive handicap but I think we’ve got a big chance if he can bounce back to form.