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Geraghty in good spirit for Trophy

Spirit River heads the market at 11/2 for the totesport Trophy with the sponsors and jockey Barry Geraghty believing his mount has the right credentials for the valuable handicap.

Nicky Henderson's runner has been a strong fancy following his impressive victory at Cheltenham in December.

"He could be well handicapped. He won well at Cheltenham on only his second start in England. He gave me a nice feel so I'm looking forward to the race," said Geraghty.

"It will be a hot race, it always is, but I think he's the right sort for it."

Songe has been backed at long odds for the race following an upbeat report by trainer Charlie Longsdon.

English bookmakers Ladbrokes have cut the six-year-old to 33/1 from 50/1 after Longsdon revealed Songe had undergone a soft palate operation to help him finish his races.

"Songe would be the worst each-way result of the race," said Ladbrokes spokesman David Williams.

"We laid the 50/1 to a few shrewd punters and will be praying he doesn't make it into the frame."

Longsdon hopes the operation has done the trick after Songe disappointed in his three starts so far this season.

"He's all geared for Newbury. He's been treated for a soft palate," said the Chipping Norton handler.

"I'd been concerned he wasn't quite finishing his races like he used to and we wanted to see what we could do. We had the vet have a look at him and we fixed a soft palate.

"He's in great form and I'm hoping that will help him. Last year he was top weight in it and was 12lb higher in the handicap.

"He has dropped in the ratings, so I'm hoping he will run pretty well.

"He had the soft palate done just before Christmas.

"It's not an operation where they have to have a long time off. They just have a week off and then they can start with steady work again.

"You never know if it's going to work but hopefully it will have sorted it out," he added.

Jeremy Noseda's Forgotten Voice will have his next start at the Dubai Carnival on March 4.

Owned by Paul and Susan Roy, last year's Royal Hunt Cup winner bounced right back to his best when second to Gloria de Campeao on the opening night at Meydan having been below-par at the end of last season.

"He has taken his race well but I don't want to run him back too quickly," said Noseda.

"He will next be seen on March 4 where he will contest a Group Three on the Tapeta over a mile or a Group Two on the turf over nine furlongs."

Owner Andy Stewart retains his faith in Celestial Halo as last year's runner-up bids to go one better in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next month.

The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old is a 16/1 chance following defeats in his last two races at Cheltenham and Leopardstown after making a winning reappearance at Wincanton.

"There is still hope. I'd be delighted if he was second again this year," Stewart said.

"He started off very well at Wincanton and he has just gone downhill since then.

"The form of last year's Champion is not rock solid, but the Supreme Novices' is working out extremely well.

"It was too heavy for him at Leopardstown last time but he ran flat and was well beaten. We are going to give it a go though.

"We have already schooled him over fences and he jumps well. We are not going to start that at this stage. More than likely unless he excels himself in the Champion Hurdle, he will jump fences next season."


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