Geraghty guides Kicking King to victory


Kicking King boosted his Cheltenham Festival chances with a workmanlike victory in the Baileys Arkle Perpetual Challenge Cup Novice Chase at Leopardstown today.

Barry Geraghty always had the 11-10 favourite in touch with the front-running Mossy Green and, after joining the leader three out, drew steadily clear to beat the staying-on Central House (3-1).

Central House had taken advantage of Kicking King's fall at the second-last when winning here over Christmas but the latter took his revenge today, scoring by three and a half lengths.

Winning trainer Tom Taaffe has the Irish Independent Arkle Chase in mind as Kicking King's Festival target and will have been encouraged by the way the progressive six-year-old jumped in today's Grade One event.

Geraghty was completing an early double after winning the opening Saltan Properties Maiden Hurdle on 11-10 favourite John Oliver.

Ladbrokes cut Kicking King to 5-1 from 6s for Cheltenham. "He won nicely enough but we think he didn't quite pull away from the others as we would have wished so Thisthatandtother is still very much the one to beat," said spokesman Balthazar Fabricius.