At The Races

Barry Geraghty's blog (20 December)

Barry offers an update on Bobs Worth ahead of his defence of the Lexus Chase over Christmas and previews his rides at Ascot on Saturday, where he's down to 10st 6lb to partner Cool Macavity in the Ladbroke plus he also teams up with The Young Master.

BOBS WORTH IN THE FORM OF HIS LIFE AHEAD OF LEXUS DEFENCE OVER CHRISTMAS

Saturday is the last big day of racing before the big Christmas meetings and with that thought in mind I’m very happy to tell you about the progress of BOBS WORTH ATR Tracker.

He’s getting ready to defend the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on December 28 and he’s peaking at just the right time.

I followed Bobs Worth up in a good bit of work last week then on Friday morning I got on him for the first time since the Cheltenham Gold Cup back in March.

We schooled over ten fences at Seven Barrows and both Nicky Henderson and I couldn’t have been any happier with him – he’s in the form of his life.

More immediately there’s business to take care of at Ascot where the fields have taken a pounding because of the ground and although I’m in just two of the six they are the two big handicaps.

The Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle was the target for a SIGN OF A VICTORY ATR Tracker but with him likely to switch to Kempton on Boxing Day I’ve got to drop a few pounds to do 10st 6lb on COOL MACAVITY (3.30).

It’s not something that I want to do every week but it is fine for a big one like this and I gave myself a pipe-opener running round the track before racing on Friday and I’ll do the same again on Saturday which should put me spot on.

I’m pretty optimistic that it will be worthwhile because I’m getting very encouraging vibes from Nicky and when that happens the winning percentage is very good.

It seems that the horse is where he was when he won at Punchestown in April and although he’s up around 10lb for that I don’t think you’ve seen him at his best since then.

He’ll stay the testing two miles and in the form he’s in, a first four finish is more than realistic.

There are plenty in this to be concerned about but if I had to pick one it would be Shelford.

I was impressed with his win at Chepstow last time when he travelled well and stayed the two and a half miles in good style.

I know the three quarter length second was getting into him when making a mistake at the last but I reckon Shelford would have won anyway and I don’t think an extra 7lb will anchor him.

One of the worst bits of luck I’ve seen this season is the disqualification of THE YOUNG MASTER (3.00) after we ran away with the listed Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton on November only to have the race taken away through a conditions technicality.

Not only did the owners and trainer Neil Mulholland loose the money, the horse also got a 14lb rise for his trouble which is a big double whammy.

However, I reckon that consolation awaits in the £100,000 Mappin & Webb Silver Cup over three miles. This is slightly shy of the trip at Wincanton but there will be plenty of emphasis on stamina on the pull from Swinley Bottom and I’m sure that will play into the hands of my lad.

Neil has given the horse plenty of time to freshen up and although this will be softer ground it’s worth remembering that The Young Master won on heavy at Sedgefield earlier in the season.