Silver lining for Geraghty


The International Hurdle is the centrepiece of a good card at Cheltenham on Saturday, the final raceday at jumps headquarters for 2018.

It could also mark the end of the line for a much-loved servant in The New One, for whom retirement beckons if he fails to shine in the big race.

Silver Streak, 3.05 Cheltenham @ 7/1

All eyes will be on The New One here as the three-time winner of the race bids to get on track and stave of retirement. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ star was well below his best at Chepstow on his reappearance and the fitting of a visor may not turn things around for this game, if limited, old stager.

At the other end of the spectrum both Summerville Boy and We Have A Dream must prove they can build on last season’s Grade One-winning novice form. The jury is out on both at this point.

On that basis, Silver Streak looks a fair price to go well here after finishing a close second in the Greatwood Hurdle last time.

Evan Williams’ charge has scope for further improvement and might just be going into a weakish Grade Two now. Barry Geraghty is a plus in the saddle, with the jockey boasting a 23% strike rate from 43 rides at this track over the last 12 months.

Doux Pretender, 2.30 Cheltenham @ 9/4

This French-bred gelding arrived on British shores with a decent reputation and is now starting to produce the results expected of him.

He impressed last month at Ascot on his reappearance, showing a game attitude to get up late over 2m5½f, despite having raced a bit keen in the early exchanges. This longer trip looks to be up his street and should see him progressing again.

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson has got his string in terrific order, with a strike rate north of 32% over the last fortnight. Noel Fehily was seen to good effect here on Friday and is the right man to steer Doux Pretender home in front.

Drovers Lane, 12.45 Cheltenham @ 9/2

The Ryman Novices’ Chase looks an open contest and this exciting prospect is tipped to carry top-weight to success for trainer Rebecca Curtis.

He is already two from three over fences and excelled at Market Rasen last time when dropped back to this sort of intermediate trip. He looks well-suited to the task at hand and his fencing experience could be vital.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Ok Corral is the early market leader. He was second over three-miles in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival in March but does have form over this trip. He should have a future over these obstacles but almost certainly could have found easier starting points.

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