Geraghty makes rare visit to Bangor for classy McManus pair
A win against Gibralfaro, who is officially rated 16lb inferior over hurdles, and the 109-rated Midnight Target might not necessarily prove a great deal, but if Modus makes the improvement for the change in discipline that Paul Nicholls believes is typical for his type, he could go right to the top over fences.
He reasoned: "Having won the Lanzarote last season he is rated 156 over hurdles, and we like to think that hurdlers like him often end up 10lb or 20lb higher when they go over fences if they can jump, which makes him really interesting. We are all looking forward to seeing him over fences and he's schooled really well."
Modus is one of two choice JP McManus-owned rides on the card for rare visitor Barry Geraghty, who has ridden one winner from just three rides at Bangor in the last five seasons.
A long time coming
Capote's chasing debut has been a long time coming.
You remember 2014; back when the world was a less divisive place, Lord Windermere could still win a race (a Gold Cup no less) and Capote was an exciting novice hurdler. He lost his unbeaten record when fourth behind Beat That, Cole Harden and Seeyouatmidnight in a Grade 1 at Aintree.
That was his last start, some 1,306 days ago.
A tendon injury has kept him off the track but the Trevor Hemmings-owned nine-year-old has been patiently nursed back to full fitness and his trainer, Jonjo O'Neill, is looking forward to his return in the novices' limited handicap (1.45) at Chepstow.
"He had a leg – a tendon injury – that's why he's been off so long. He's back and in good form so hopefully he comes back okay," said O'Neill.
Capote lines up off a mark of 122. He achieved a peak Racing Post Rating of 137 as a novice hurdler, so if the ability remains he could be very well treated.
On whether or not that ability does remain O'Neill added: "It was a long time ago so you just wouldn't know, but he's in grand old form and he's schooled nicely so we're hoping for a good run."
Barber out to enhance record
Former leading point-to-point trainer Jack Barber has hit the ground running and has a great opportunity to improve his strike-rate with a full licence to three winners from only five runners when last Monday's ridiculously easy Plumpton winner Smart Boy carries just a 7lb penalty for his 30-length win in Chepstow's Truck And Bus Wales And West Handicap Hurdle (3.55).
We do not know yet what the handicapper has made of the Plumpton form, but while it was admittedly a weak affair one would imagine that Smart Boy's imminent rise might be somewhere in the mid-to-high teens, which would make him very well treated indeed here in another low-grade affair.
Doing it for the boss
Much has been made of the riding talents of young James Bowen and his hook-up with champion trainer Nicky Henderson, but despite the 16-year-old riding three winners since he joined Henderson on October 1, he is yet to ride one for his boss.
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