Barry Geraghty: Shishkin is my banker of the meeting

Barry Geraghty: Shishkin is my banker of the meeting

We switch to the New Course on Thursday which is a bigger test of stamina than the Old Course. There is rain forecast too so we can expect it to be fairly hard work.

Cheltenham, Thursday

1:30 Turners Novices’ Chase

I’m with MIGHTY POTTER here who has been really good all season. I rode him work before the Dublin Racing Festival and he’s a gorgeous horse. I thought he could have jumped a bit better in Leopardstown, so there is the potential for improvement in that department. 

Appreciate It is the main danger and the each-way value in the race. As a nine-year-old, he has to buck the age trend, but we haven’t seen many novice chasers of his quality at his age. The Mullins camp seem pretty keen on him. 

Banbridge ran on well in the Irish Arkle, but he benefited from not being so close to the pace that day and he’d also prefer better ground. 


2:10 Pertemps Final

This is a lottery and has a different look to it after the ante-post favourite Shoot First suffered a setback and was pulled out. I won it two years running on Sire Du Berlais and it’s a race JP [McManus] likes to target, so you have to respect David Pipe’s Thanksforthehelp after his win in Chepstow. He’s pretty short in the betting, though. 

Nicky [Henderson] saddles three with Walking On Air looking like the first string, but this will be the softest ground he has ever run on. I actually like MILL GREEN. He was third in the race last year and runs off the same mark. He went on to finish third at the Grand National meeting and ran a nice race in Haydock on his reappearance. At 25/1 and with six places on offer, he looks a good value each-way bet. 


2:50 Ryanair Chase 

SHISHKIN is the banker of the meeting for me. He proved in Ascot that all he needed was the step up in trip. He travelled and jumped better that day and he will have no problem with the soft ground. It’s very hard to make a case against him and if he reproduces that level of form, I can’t see him being beaten. 

Janidil was a good second to Allaho in this last year. He did well to win the Red Mills Chase on his reappearance last month, so it’s just whether he has recovered in time. I would say he is the main danger to Shishkin, as Blue Lord has a bit to prove after his run in the Dublin Chase. 


3:30 Stayers’ Hurdle

It looks a really interesting and open Stayers’ Hurdle this year. The ground has come right for TEAHUPOO whose performance in the Hatton’s Grace when beating Klassical Dream and Honeysuckle is the strongest level of form – which was franked on Tuesday in the Mares’ Hurdle. They went slow in the Galmoy Hurdle, so his stamina wasn’t tested, but there’s no reason to suggest he won’t get the trip. 

The more rain the better and I wouldn’t read much into his defeat in last year’s Champion Hurdle. We’ve seen over the past month that some horses like Shishkin and Honeysuckle just need that extra distance, and I think that’s the case with Teahupoo. 

Blazing Khal has been very impressive but he hasn’t had to contend with the same level of opposition, while Flooring Porter is going for his third Stayers’ Hurdle in a row. He will love conditions, but this looks a stronger race than the last couple of years. 

Klassical Dream goes well fresh and has been given a big break, but I’m not sure he’s had the best preparation. Paisley Park’s form has been better this season and if the rain comes and they go hard, he could stay on past a few. 


4:10 Magners Plate

This isn’t a race I have a massive view on to be honest, but Venetia Williams has a very good record in it and FRERO BANBOU can go well stepping up in trip. He was tailed off in the Grand Annual last year but made up a huge amount of ground and finished third despite clouting the last. He’s 6lbs lower and should enjoy the extra distance. 

You have to respect the favourite So Scottish. He was second to Boothill in Ascot in November with Frero Banbou back in fourth. He’s been kept back for this since then and it’s interesting that he has changed hands since then. 


4:50 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

They have always loved LUCCIA at Nicky’s. Her bumper form and her hurdle form is really strong. She’s a quality individual and they even thought about going for the Supreme. She won a very good novice hurdle in Newbury earlier in the season and will be tough to beat in this. 

You Wear It Well looks the each-way angle. She was second to Hermes Allen in the Challow and then won well in Sandown a month ago. She’ll enjoy the ground. You could also make a case for Jetara who was second to Ashroe Diamond in Fairyhouse and gets a 5lbs allowance. She’s closely related to Jezki. 


5:30 Kim Muir Handicap Chase 

I’m with DUNBOYNE in this for Gordon [Elliott] and Jamie [Codd]. He ran a brilliant race to be second to Carefully Selected in the Thyestes in January, form which was franked when Espanito Bello won the Leinster National on Sunday. 

He will love the conditions, he stays really well and, with just six starts over fences, there is still room for improvement. Mr Incredible is a danger after his fine second in Warwick’s Classic Chase last time. 


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16 Mar 2023

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