Big Weekend: Racing from Gowran Park and Tipperary

Friday, October 04, 2019
BW October

Geraghty and 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 Tipperary.

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.

Bryan Cooper 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.

With his 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.

The Tralee 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

Mercifully, 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.

The PWC 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 performers included.

Yorkhill (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.

He, like 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.

Peregrine Run 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.

Petit Mouchoir 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.

Davids Charm 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.

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