Geraghty primed to give Ruby a run for his money
WATCHING the veteran Monet's Garden show the young bucks how it's done at Ascot last week reminded me why I love National Hunt racing, and even those swanky souls up in the premier level managed to put down their Bollinger for a moment and give him a clap.
My main bet in that race was on Planet Of Sound but as mentioned last week, I had also a small saver bet on Monet's Garden -- a bet that lived up to its description as the former crashed thorough the fifth fence. Shakespeare's words from Cymbeline came to mind: "O! for a horse with wings" as Planet Of Sound fell to the ground, while I groaned to myself and wondered how the hell I was going to pay for the fancy headpiece the wife had just set eyes on at the hat stall.
The favourite Herecomesthetruth could have done with a pair of wings too, as he was simply awful, and it's hard to know where connections will go with him from here.
But Monet's Garden was on hand to save the day and make it a (slightly) profitable race for me with Meath man Barry Geraghty doing the steering. I hope the 12-year-old takes in the 2m4f race at the Aintree Festival, as it's a contest that would suit him down to the ground.
Speaking of Geraghty, I reckon he's work a couple of quid at 5/1 in the Cheltenham Festival top jockey market. Some of Henderson's animals have disappointed lately but Geraghty has been riding out of his skin -- he has had 29 wins from 89 races in 2010 -- and he can usually be relied upon for a festival winner or two.
Ruby Walsh is the favourite at 1/2 and I concede that a couple of Nicholls' horses look bombproof -- but we've seen a lot of bankers go down over the years and shock results happen every season. If a couple of big fancies let Walsh down, Geraghty could be snapping at his heels for the top jock award.
This column may have its head a little bit in front for 2010, but I'd still like to get a couple of nice-price handicap winners in the bag before the festival and Atouchbetweenacara could help me on that front in today's Racing Post Chase at Kempton (3.05).
The lightly-raced nine-year-old spent a bit of time with Tim Vaughan, but is back with Venetia Williams following an unsuccessful attempt at the Boylesports Gold Cup. In that race, he didn't look terribly bad but it was clear that he needed the run and his old trainer will have him fired up for today.
Williams has been careful in her race selection with the gelding and it's rare that he's out of the placings so he doesn't look handicapped out of affairs here. If he hadn't had that poor run for Vaughan, there's no way the bookmakers would be chalking him up at 12/1, but Williams and Vaughan have two different styles and I reckon we'll see a rejuvenated animal this afternoon.
Nacarat demolished the field in this race last year and has obvious claims but at these weights, his odds of 100/30 are simply too short for my liking and I'm happy to click pink for the nine-year-old on the machine.
1.30 Kempton -- Dante Hall (each-way)
2.00 Kempton -- Frascati Park
2.30 Kempton -- The Nightingale
3.05 Kempton -- Atouchbetweenacara
3.05 Kempton -- Lay Nacarat (3pt liability)
3.50 Lingfield -- Jaconet
Specials -- Barry Geraghty to win Top Jockey at Cheltenham (5/1)