Barry Geraghty's blog

Our star blogger reflects on his rides over the festive period, the highlight of which taking Grade 1 honours aboard Champ in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.

  • Thursday 03 January
  • Blog
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It’s been a busy week or so with Christmas, the New Year and all the racing that came in between, so there is plenty of action to look back on.

The highlight of the last week or so was gaining a Grade 1 win on the Nicky Henderson-trained CHAMP in the Betway Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

On the basis of his win at Newbury the time before, you had to be hopeful that he could get the job done and he duly did. The slow pace didn’t really help him, but he overcame that and produced a good winning performance.

He was a little bit keen through the race and Getaway Trump came there travelling better than him, but Champ was too strong for him.

Two-and-a-half miles seems a good trip for him at minute and a stronger pace will be a help to him for sure. He’s one you’d have to be excited about going forward.

That win completed a double for me on the day, as I had already rode a winner for Nicky on CHAMPAGNE PLATINUM in the Betway ‘Introductory’ Hurdle.

He’s another lovely type of horse and I thought this represented a good step in the right direction. For a horse that will very much make a chaser, he seems to have plenty of pace.

He’s a good jumper of a hurdle, but you know by his technique that he’ll be really suited by fences. He’ll be likely to go up to Graded level now and I’d be very hopeful he will be up to competing in that company.

In terms of the horses I rode over Christmas that didn’t win, where else to start but with BUVEUR D’AIR in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

I wrote a few lines about him here the day after the race and to be honest, nothing more has come to light since.

I wouldn’t like to take anything away from Verdana Blue, she just nabbed us on the day around a track that maybe wasn’t ideal for my fella. I know the Fighting Fifth form has taken a couple of knocks since, but Buveur D’Air couldn’t have been any more impressive in what he did that day.

He’s a two-time Champion Hurdle winner and I’ll still be looking towards Cheltenham with him with plenty of confidence.

Over at Leopardstown, the Enda Bolger-trained BALLYOISIN was a bit disappointing in the Paddy's Rewards Club ‘Sugar Paddy’ Chase.

He just didn’t jump as fluently as he can and he paid the price for that. The jury has to be out on him at the very highest level now, so he’ll have to get on track.

Later that day I finished second in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle on the Willie Mullins-trained SANCTA SIMONA.

She travelled into the straight like a winner, but didn’t find as much as seemed likely. The winner,Aramon, was impressive, but I’d be a little bit disappointed that she couldn’t make more of a race of it.

At Cheltenham on New Year’s Day I thought I was on a winner jumping the last on the Philip Hobbs-trained DEFI DU SEUIL in the Betbright Dipper Novices’ Chase, but Lostintranslation came back at him and nailed him close home.

Defi jumped big over the first couple as he has tended to do over fences so far, but he jumped very well through the race after that. He travelled great and I thought I was in business when hitting the front at the second-last, but he came back and got me which was very surprising at the time.

I wouldn’t be inclined to blame the trip for Defi’s defeat, I don’t think he stopped at all, the winner just rallied very well in receipt of 3lb from my horse.

I wouldn’t be too negative about the defeat at all and I look forward to getting back on him soon.

Barry Geraghty's blog
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