Sunday 18 February 2018

King Henry ready for Festival but Geraghty is out

Geraghty was 13/8 with one layer to be top Festival jockey. Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images
Geraghty was 13/8 with one layer to be top Festival jockey. Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Johnny Ward

Barry Geraghty sat out Naas yesterday and is out of Cheltenham after the fall of Charli Parcs at Kempton on Saturday.

Geraghty was 13/8 with one layer to be top Festival jockey. Aidan Coleman and Mark Walsh will be among those to take some of his would-be rides.

"I've a collapsed lung and six broken ribs on my right side," he told At The Races. "I'm obviously devastated as there were so many good horses to look forward to; JP McManus's team look in particularly good shape this year.

"Last night was pretty rough. I've broken ribs individually before but never had six go all at the same time. I expect to be back for Aintree."

Henry de Bromhead struck with a Naas double. He took the Grade Three Newlands Chase for the fourth time in five years, Alisier D'Irlande making all.

David Mullins also rode Adreamstillalive, a 4/1 winner in the handicap hurdle. In Alisier D'Irlande (5/2jf), the trainer may have his first French runner, a notion his wife Heather mooted.

"I told [owner Roger Brookhouse] last year this was the race for him. Heather mentioned France, we'll consider it."

If De Bromhead's double was impressive, so was that of rider Robbie 'Puppy' Power, who has a sporting chance of Timico Gold Cup glory with Sizing John. He enjoyed two easy winners, Edwulf (11/2) taking the €50,000 Nas Na Riogh Novice Handicap Chase - what would have been Geraghty's ride - and Forge Meadow causing a mild surprise in the Grade Two Novice Hurdle at 6/1.

Edwulf's victory puts him in line for a National Hunt Chase bid, possibly under Derek O'Connor. Joseph O'Brien said: "I always thought he was better than a handicapper. He gets three miles and he has as good a chance as any horse of getting four."

Any Second Now was many people's banker in the feature but flopped, struggling to get to leader Pravalaguna when she fell two out. Forge Meadow, which had eight lengths to spare at the wire, may have won anyway.

Jessica Harrington, who turned 70 on Saturday, said: "The entries for Cheltenham's mares' novice close Monday, she will be entered."

Another to emerge lately as a Festival dark horse is Tombstone, which beat the Harrington-trained Jezki at Gowran.

Gordon Elliott, who won the opener with 5/1 shot Morgan, expects that Tombstone will be supplemented for the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

The Lisa O'Neill-steered Monbeg Worldwide (4/11), a huge chaser in the making, completed the Gigginstown-Elliott double in the finale, while 7/1 shot Mick The Jiver took the staying handicap chase under David Splaine.

Meanwhile, Colin Tizzard plans to have Thistlecrack scanned tomorrow, a torn tendon having apparently ruled him out of the Gold Cup.

Tizzard said: "After 36 hours of feeling gutted, I thought 'we'd better move on from this'. There is no heat or swelling there now. We want to check again, just to please ourselves really."

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