At The Races

Barry Geraghty's blog (24 February)

Our star blogger looks back on his recent rides including Days Of Victory’s Dovecote success and provides news from Tuesday’s Kempton Park workout, where he put some of the Seven Barrows big guns through their paces ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.

DAYS OF HEAVEN TOOK ANOTHER STEP FORWARD IN THE DOVECOTE

With the big guns from Seven Barrows under wraps ahead of the big spring festivals, the last week hasn’t been the busiest for me in terms of competitive action, but I have been fortunate to partner a handful of promising youngsters, all of whom are set for greater things in the future.

Among the most promising was DAYS OF HEAVEN ATR Tracker, who took another step in the right direction when winning the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday. I said in my blog last Friday that this was a horse who can be quirky but is getting better with experience and he maintained that progress, behaving himself well before the race and then producing a very sound effort when the tapes went up.

He beat the useful Vago Collonges two and three quarter lengths in a time that was almost three seconds faster than the Adonis Hurdle earlier in the afternoon and that was some achievement given the mistake he made two out, which cost him plenty of momentum. It would have been enough to stop most but instead he really stuck his head down to win going away.

Days Of Heaven is a shade too immature for Cheltenham at this stage of his career, but he’s clearly very talented and is an excellent prospect.

You could say the same of DIFFERENT GRAVEY ATR Tracker, who I partnered to land a valuable Listed Hurdle at Huntingdon last Thursday. Giving weight away to the rest of the field, Different Gravey is still mentally immature and didn’t really carry me through the race, though I never had to really put him under strong pressure. He’s a chaser for future and will get three miles in time.

GOLD PRESENT ATR Tracker ran a good race on his hurdling debut when second to the Paul Nicholls-trained Qualando at Exeter on Friday. That horse is now among the fancies for the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Festival so the chances are ours is a decent animal given he had to give that rival 10lb.

Last of the quartet is BIVOUAC ATR Tracker , who finished third to Triumph Hurdle-bound Beltor in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton. He’s a horse that I like a lot but he’s not really progressed since winning at Kempton over Christmas and I suspect that race has just taken the edge off him. He’s still just a bit weak and immature but he is the sort who could make a nice horse next season; he certainly has the scope to go over fences in the future.

Before heading over to Dublin on Tuesday I put a few more of Nicky’s Festival runners through their paces at Kempton.

VANITEUX ATR Tracker seems very well at present and is headed for the Champion Hurdle, where good ground would really help his cause.

DAWALAN ATR Tracker continues to thrive following his wins at Aintree and Musselburgh this season and goes for the Pertemps Networks Final.

VYTA DU ROC ATR Tracker is a horse I am looking forward to partnering in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, which will be his first try over three miles having chased home Parlour Games in the Challow Hurdle. He has form on better ground and felt great.

WHISPER ATR Tracker also feels like he’s set for a good spring. Having failed to take to fences he’s showing plenty of sparkle now and goes for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. With More Of That out of the race it has a wide open look about it and the form of his Grade 1 win at Aintree last year is there for all to see.