John Ferguson to be well served by Parlour Games at Newbury
Trainer’s patience to be finally rewarded in Betfred Goals Galore Challow Novices Hurdle
Barry Geraghty: the jockey will ride Vyta Du Roc for his boss Nicky Henderson and is expecting big things from the French import. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.
Parlour Games bids to reward the patience of trainer John Ferguson with a big run in the Betfred Goals Galore Challow Novices Hurdle at Newbury.
Ferguson has targeted the Grade One in Berkshire since he claimed the scalp of the reopposing Blaklion at Cheltenham in November, opting to miss the International meeting at Prestbury Park last month, where his immediate victim boosted the form.
“He’d gone from strength to strength. I chose to avoid Cheltenham last month with a view to going to the Challow and I think he’ll give a good account of himself.
“He’s in rude health. Obviously, to pick those horses up at Cheltenham and put four or five (lengths) between them was quite good to watch.
“I asked Barry (Geraghty) about a trip last time and he said he’ll stay as long as we like, but I think the Neptune looks the natural one.
“The great thing about Cheltenham, I’ve learned, is that you need plenty of experience and this fellow has it, he was on the go through the summer and went to Galway.”
Geraghty this time rides Vyta Du Roc for his boss Nicky Henderson and is expecting big things from the French import, who is unbeaten in four hurdling starts for the Seven Barrows team.
He told his At The Races blog: “He showed plenty of courage to hold on and beat Shantou Bob at Sandown and is going to be well-suited by the long straight.
“I’ve already won on one of the main players in the race, Parlour Games, at Cheltenham last time when he stayed well and impressed me with his turn of pace on very soft ground.”
Blaklion’s only defeat in four races over hurdles came against Parlour Games, but he returned to winning ways in great style there last time and his trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is eyeing revenge.
“He’s fine and we’re looking forward to running him again. Everything’s in order,” said the Naunton handler.
Paul Nicholls pitches Arpege D’Alene into Grade One company after the French import made a successful British debut in a maiden hurdle at Ascot five weeks ago.
Big step up
Track officials have called a precautionary inspection for 7.30am ahead of the meeting. While the Berkshire track has been entirely covered, clerk of the course Richard Osgood will check conditions on raceday morning as temperatures are forecast to dip overnight.
Meanwhile, the meeting at Doncaster has been abandoned due to snow.