Yanworth (nearside): winner of the Kingwell Hurdle under Barry Geraghty
PICTURE: Matthew Webb
BARRY GERAGHTY believes the stiffer track at Cheltenham will help Yanworth‘s prospects in the Stan James Champion Hurdle next month – but JP McManus’s number one jockey will be leaving a decision on whether he will partner Saturday’s Kingwell Hurdle winner or Buveur D’Air until much closer to the festival.
Buveur D’Air is the market leader, but there is little in it, with the race sponsor quoting 3-1 about the Nicky Henderson-trained Buveur D’Air and 9-2 about Yanworth.
Reflecting on Yanworth’s Wincanton win, Geraghty said on Sunday: “He battled well and you’d expect him to improve for the run. He’ll be better on a stiffer track, as you’d have to say neither Kempton [where he won the Christmas Hurdle] nor Wincanton played to his strengths.
“Hopefully, it will be onwards and upwards for him, but as far as choosing which I’ll ride at Cheltenham, I’ll be leaving that decision until as late as possible.”
Ch’Tibello is rated an even-money chance to renew rivalry with Yanworth after his bold effort at Wincanton.
He ran his Christmas Hurdle conqueror to a length in the Kingwell and trainer Dan Skelton said: “It’s 50-50 for the festival because you’ve got to bear in mind reality.
“We were getting 4lb off Yanworth and couldn’t beat him and we would be going there off levels. But we’ll see what the next three weeks holds, for the opposition as much as anything.
“The race would be no poorer for having him. If he went and finished third you’d say it wasn’t a fluke.”
Ch’Tibello, who won last year’s Scottish Champion Hurdle, had previously finished third in the Christmas Hurdle, where he chased home Yanworth and The New One.
“It was a great run on Saturday but it was frustrating to be beaten, especially when he had a sniff at the last and couldn’t quite pull it off,” Skelton reflected.
“Yanworth has given us 4lb and beaten us a length, having beaten us five lengths off levels in the Christmas Hurdle, so they’ve run pound for pound to the Kempton form.
“I couldn’t be happier with how he ran, he seems to be finding his feet in open graded contests and we hope one day there’ll be a big one in him.”
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