Ascot Preview: Four-timer chance for Geraghty
Jockey Barry Geraghty is riding better than ever and looks to have a chance of landing a four-timer on today’s card at Ascot courtesy of Saint Charles, Clondaw Banker, Josies Orders and Sweet Deal.
The Nicky Henderson trained Saint Charles makes his hurdling debut in the opener at 1.00 having disappointed on his sole run in a bumper after being bought for £140,000 following victory in an Irish point.
The four-year-old was sent off the 15/8 favourite but could never get competitive before trailing in 11th of 15 in the 2m contest at Ayr.
However, the son of Manduro has reportedly strengthened up significantly over the summer and could well prove a different proposition now tackling the obstacles.
It’s also interesting that his powerful connections unleashed a very smart prospect in this contest 12 months ago in the shape of Beat That, and Saint Charles is clearly held in high regard.
Henderson also trains Clondaw Banker who is fancied to gain revenge on Jolly’s Cracked It in the 2m introductory hurdle (2.05).
The five-year-old was beaten 3 1/4 lengths by his main market rival over course and distance earlier in the month but stumbled badly and lost vital ground at the fourth flight before rallying strongly.
Clondaw Banker was arguably an unlucky loser and is now 5lb better off at the weights with the winner.
Given how the race panned out that should enable the son of Court Cave to reverse the placings.
Josies Orders runs in the 3m handicap chase (3.15) and gets fitted with the cheekpieces for the first time after shaping nicely on his debut over fences.
The Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding hinted that there was far better to come when a tenderly handled sixth of 11 behind Big Water at Carlisle and looks potentially well-treated off a mark of 130.
The six-year-old was rated as high as 136 over hurdles after showing progressive form to win three times last season, and is just the type that O’Neill excels with in these type of contests.
Geraghty teams up with his boss Henderson again to partner Sweet Deal in the 2m handicap hurdle (3.50) and the progressive gelding looks a worthy favourite to land the hat-trick.
The five-year-old has won his last two starts at Aintree and Uttoxeter in the manner of a progressive performer who needs keeping firmly onside and an opening mark of 133 could seriously underestimate Sweet Deal’s ability given that he remains totally unexposed after just three starts over hurdles.
1.00: Saint Charles
1.30: Killala Quay
2.05: Clondaw Banker (NAP)
3.15: Josies Orders
3.50: Sweet Deal (NB)