Wednesday 13 December 2017

Geraghty can rule on Earth

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Having partnered Slieveardagh to victory for Edward O'Grady at Listowel, Barry Geraghty looks poised to again take advantage of the ending of the Tipperary handler's formal association with Andrew McNamara at Downpatrick today.

McNamara -- who rode a double at Ballinrobe on Monday -- confirmed yesterday that his career will be taking a slightly different direction this season as he will no longer be "exclusively committed" to O'Grady, for whom he rode six Grade One winners during a four-year spell as first-choice rider.

Today, O'Grady has three runners at the northern venue, none of which are due to be ridden by McNamara, who rides for three other trainers on the card. Geraghty takes the reins on O'Grady's likely favourite Earth Tremor in the Proctor & Gamble Maiden Hurdle, while McNamara partners King'sandqueen's for Colin Bowe.

A runner-up at the track on his penultimate start, King'sandqueen's has a definite chance, but Earth Tremor, third here three weeks ago, is slightly less exposed.

Geraghty might also collect when he partners Golan Guy on its fencing debut for Tony Martin in the Moy Park Beginners' chase. Gordon Elliott's Definite All Star, placed in five of its six starts over fences, may be tough to beat in this.

However, Golan Guy displayed his wellbeing by recording a game win on the Flat at Down Royal, and he could be good enough again now if his jumping holds up.

Shernaz is a tentative nap selection on what is a tricky seven-race spread.

Since joining Jim Dreaper in the spring, Shernaz has taken time to get the hang of chasing, but his most recent effort to be third behind Pistol Jack at Kilbeggan was encouraging.

Having travelled smoothly that day, he only came off the bridle on the run to the last, and was just run out of it by a couple of more established campaigners.

The Lindon Foods Handicap Chase that he contests this evening is a lesser contest, so the eight-year-old has a good opportunity to deliver both Dreaper and jockey Andrew Lynch their first winners of the campaign. Of Shernaz's nine rivals, One Fine Morning, successful at Killarney in August, is probably the main danger.

Irish Independent

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