I am glad to see Barry Geraghty going out at the top having announced his retirement from the saddle at the age of 40 on Saturday evening. I was fortunate enough to share a microphone with the Irish jump jockey on a couple of occasions and found him articulate, entertaining and highly informative. Geraghty was right up there with Ruby Walsh as the best big-race jockey of his era, and five wins from just 11 rides at this year’s Cheltenham Festival highlights the fact that he was back to his very best when he last rode back in the spring.
At first glance it appeared Zamaani (1.00) had failed to build on a promising Newmarket debut when runner up at Windsor last month – beaten by an unraced juvenile of Owen Burrows running in the second colours of the owner. That form was given a huge boost, however, when the winner – Twaasol – followed up in the listed Woodcote Stakes at Epsom last weekend and The Crisfords’ juvenile can make it third time lucky back at Windsor drawn against the stands’ rail in stall one. The 2/1 with bet365 was too big and he is now a best priced 6/4.
French Asset (2.40) was too green to do himself justice but was doing all his best work late on when fourth at Kempton on his reappearance. He is taken to appreciate his first start on fast ground in the 12f handicap for the classic generation. Trained by Sir Michael Stoute the colt was backed from 10/3 into 5/2 with William Hill in the opening exchanges. John Gosden’s Colonize looks the main danger in a terrific race.
I am worried about the draw out in stall 14 – of 16 – for the front-running Molinari (4.45) in the 10f handicap but he has been crying out for a drop back in trip having run out of steam over 12f in his last couple of starts. There is no other confirmed front-runner in the field, but David Egan will have to use some petrol to get across to the lead from his wide box. The ew selection is 7/1 at bet365 and I would be disappointed if he couldn’t be competitive from his current mark.
At Kempton I hope to see Moment Of Hope (5.20) race more prominently than was the case on her reappearance when third over this evening’s C&D having been last when the field made its way back into the home straight. Trainer David Simcock’s yard are beginning to hit their straps and I hope jockey Dylan Hogan can get the filly into a decent position going into the first turn. The ew recommendation is 4s from 9/2 with Boylesports. Red Centre looks the main danger having shaped well here on his return from a long absence last month for John Gosden.
In the listed fillies’ race at Tipperary a draw in stall 10 is a concern for Roca Roma (6.25) who paid the price for trying to keep tabs with the outstanding Magical in the Pretty Polly at the Curragh last time. That was over 10f and this evening’s return to a mile will help. The selection has a bit to find on official figures, but the fact that she was allowed to take her chance in Group 1 company last season suggests she is held in some regard by connections. The 5s with bet365 didnt last long and she is now 3/1 with Unibet.
I hope it is a good evening for classic winning trainer Lyons as his filly Thunder Kiss (6.55) can make it third time lucky in the 12f maiden – 5/2 from 5/4 with bet365 – having finished runner up in her two starts over 10f to date. There is plenty of stamina on the distaff side of her family and she gets the nod ahead of Joseph O’Brien’s Gin Blossom and Jessica Harrington’s Toora Loora.