Barry Geraghty’s William Hill Blog: Warrior out to make a Statement

Barry Geraghty’s William Hill Blog: Warrior out to make a Statement

Cheltenham, Tuesday

1.30pm – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

It’s a very competitive race and it’s easy to make a case for plenty of these, including Tullyhill, Mystic Power, and even Jeriko Du Reponet. I do like FIREFOX, who disappointed in Naas last time when scoping badly, but I can see him bouncing back here. There could be value to be had with Ben Pauling’s Tellherthename, who has twice been impressive when winning at Huntingdon on good ground this season. He disappointed on very heavy ground at Aintree, so it looks a case of the better the ground, the better his chance. I think he’s a horse who could well outrun his odds.

2.10pm – Arkle Novices’ Chase

GAELIC WARRIOR is the horse with the most potential in this field and if he can reproduce the form he showed at Punchestown and in Limerick this season then he could be hard to beat. The slight concern is that he’s better going right-handed, but he didn’t jump so badly to his right in Leopardstown last time. There is forgiveness for that last run needed, but to me he is the class act here. He also wears a first-time hood, which might help him, and with there being a good bit of pace in the race he should get cover which might also help his tendency to jump to his right. Elsewhere, the value in the race on a line through JPR One could be Matata, who was sent off second favourite when only finishing half-a-length behind JPR One in Lingfield last time. He wouldn’t have a huge amount to find on ratings, so with that in mind and on the form of his last run, he looks a big price.

2.50pm – Ultima Handicap Chase

I do think the favourite, MEETINGOFTHEWATERS, is the one to beat, despite having gone up a total of 17 pounds since his win at Christmas. The other one I fancy at bigger odds is TRELAWNE, with Harry Cobden riding for Kim Bailey. He wasn’t beaten far behind Crebilly in Exeter last time – Crebilly is favourite for the Plate on Thursday – and two starts before that he ran well behind Ginny’s Destiny, who is well fancied for the Turners. Trelawne has only had four runs over fences and has plenty of good form in the book, so I thought he was of interest.

3.30pm – Champion Hurdle

It’s a great shame we won’t see the rematch between Constitution Hill and State Man this year, but the former’s absence means it’s very hard to make a case against STATE MAN. It isn’t the strongest renewal of the race and I think State Man would have to seriously underperform if he’s not to win. Of the dangers, Irish Point is a good horse but he was heading to the Stayers’ Hurdle before deciding to go down this route and I’m not sure his form is strong enough. Iberico Lord is on the up and was fancied for the County Hurdle before being supplemented, so you’d have to take note, despite him having a good bit to find on the ratings.

4.10pm – Mares’ Hurdle

A little bit like her stablemate State Man, LOSSIEMOUTH will have to underperform to get beaten in the Mares’ Hurdle. Elsewhere, there’s a little bit of forgiveness needed with Gala Marceau, but she is a very fancy price. She was only just over four lengths behind Ashroe Diamond when giving her three pounds in Doncaster on her first run of the season and it’s interesting that Danny Mullins rides her here over Echoes In Rain. She was well beaten last time in Punchestown, but she is still making the trip over so there obviously wasn’t a major issue with her. For an each-way alternative to the favourite, she could be worth chancing.

4.50pm – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

It’s always very hard to know what’s lurking in this race. I thought on form BATMAN GIRAC had a chance as he’s been competing at a good level this season. He was fourth in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown over Christmas, only beaten around four lengths by Kala Konti and subsequent Spring Juvenile winner Kargese, and three lengths off Nurburgring, so that’s strong form. He’s a horse that is clearly highly thought of as he went off a short price on debut at Fairyhouse, but run badly there. He bounced back last time and could be well-handicapped on that form. Milan Tino may be well-treated, and with Gordon Elliott’s strong record in the race Naadawi would have a chance, however, I feel Batman Girac has been competing at a higher level.

5.30pm – National Hunt Chase

EMBASSY GARDENS is a massive horse who has improved a lot from last season to this one. He’s been very impressive in two starts to date over fences, and he jumps really well. My concern for Corbetts Cross is he won a two-mile novice hurdle at Naas last season and I just wonder with that amount of pace as a novice hurdler whether he will have the racing style and stamina to get this 3m6f around Cheltenham. Apple Away is one to keep an eye on at a big price. She was well fancied for the Ultima but the owners were keen to go for this race. She does stay really well and from a ratings perspective she only has seven pounds to find if her mares’ allowance is taken into account.

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11 Mar 2024



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