Cooper return to the fray
Six months of
mental torment will end for Barry Geraghty when the former champion and winner
of just about everything there is to win in jump racing is legged up on
Ballyoisin by Enda Bolger in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Hurdle (2.30) at
One of the
elder statesmen of the Irish weigh room, having turned 40 just under three
weeks ago, Geraghty clearly has no intention of hanging up the boots yet, given
what he would have had to do to get back to fitness from the broken leg
suffered at Aintree last April.
He has been on
board Ballyoisin for five of the JP McManus-owned gelding’s nine triumphs so
there will certainly be an element of familiarity that makes the possibility of
the comeback being a winning one, very real.
has been conspicuous by his absence in recent weeks but makes his return to the
saddle for his father Tom in the Tote Backing Your Team Handicap Hurdle (2.40)
at Gowran Park tomorrow.
primary backer Paul Nolan not housing many summer performers, Cooper took the
opportunity to go on holiday and freshen himself up before the winter campaign.
native linked up well with Nolan last season and they duo will be hoping for
more of that in the year ahead.
Race of the
Week 1 – PWC Champion Chase
Lorenzo didn’t wreak the havoc that had initially been forecast, having
apparently raced keenly throughout and run out of puff by the time he reached
Ireland. It is October however and there has been rain and that is good news as
the quality National Hunt horses began to return to action.
Champion Chase (4.25) at Gowran Park tomorrow is certainly a contest to look
forward to with three Cheltenham Festival winners and five other top class
(Neptune Hurdle, JLT Chase), Shattered Love (JLT Chase) and The Storyteller
(Brown Advisory & Meriebelle Plate) are those that have prevailed at jump
racing’s Olympics and the former will certainly have fitness on his side.
Lorenzo, was far too keen before being pulled up in the Kerry National at
Listowel just over three weeks ago but had jumped and travelled well before
tiring. Prior to that, he ended a long losing streak in Galway, just a few days
after unseating Paul Townend in the Galway Plate. The drop down to two and a
half miles should be a positive.
has enjoyed a brilliant season, enjoying the good ground through the summer and
he ran a cracker under 11-9 to be fourth in the Plate, having built up a run of
five straight triumphs before that. He will need the rain to stay away but if
it does, he is a major contender.
Us And Them
steps up a half-mile having been second in four Grade 1 novice chases over the
minimum trip, including the Arkle last March. Snow Falcon, Jury Duty and Jett
are other serial winners with tidy CVs, making this a real treat.
Race of the
Week 2 – Horse & Jockey Hotel Hurdle
The Grade 3
Horse & Jockey Hotel Hurdle (3.00) is an intriguing affair at Tipperary on
Sunday, coming as it does a half-hour after the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Home Of
Champions Concorde Stakes (2.30), where Imagine will be attempting to defy top weight
to repeat the group triumph he shared with Oisín Orr in the Gladness Stakes at
Naas in April.
That is an
interesting contest in itself but it is the hurdle that really catches the eye,
with Winter Escape being sent over the smaller obstacles having disappointed in
recent outings over fences.
finished third in a Champion Hurdle and bagged two Grade 1s in that sphere but
never delivered over fences and was rerouted to hurdles again last term. He
never looked like winning at Fairyhouse and Punchestown but was only beaten a
total of under 10 lengths by Rashaan and Buveur D’air.
has put a run of bad luck behind him and is now chasing his third win on the
spin for shrewd trainer John Joe Walsh, while as mentioned earlier, Ballyoisin,
who has provided Darragh O’Keeffe with so much success, will have the returning
Barry Geraghty for company. This partnership has been successful five times
already, including at Group 2 level over fences.
Don’t miss it.