Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning rider Barry Geraghty thinks Mares’ Chase favourite could come unstuck at the Cheltenham Festival unless she brushes up on her jumping technique.
The six-year-old again proved much too good for her rivals last weekend in a Grade Two novice chase at Thurles, but not without a major scare at the first fence, when diving out to her right and almost unseating jockey Paul Townend in the process.
The Willie Mullins-trained mare would go on to win easily despite some cumbersome leaps, with some bookmakers cutting her into as short as 5/4 for the Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham.
But Geraghty was nowhere near as convinced by the performance, feeling her technique will have to improve if she is going to justify her short price.
“She is a brilliant mare and does have scope but her technique needs a bit of work,” Geraghty told the Off The Fence podcast.
“Willie mentioned that with the frost they haven’t been able to give her a pop at home so a lot of that will be practice.
“Paul won’t have had a tight hold of her head and he wanted to get her to relax but being so relaxed might have just left her in two minds and she guessed at the first.
“Going out to her right isn’t going to be a help, especially against more experienced opposition.
“Scarlet And Dove has 15 runs over fences so you can imagine her breathing down her neck, applying pressure, and Elimay the same thing.
“It’s going to be a struggle for her out in front and I’m sure they’d be happy to take a lead and ride her like a novice.”
At The Races pundit Tony Keenan agreed with Geraghty, adding that hardened chasers in Scarlet And Dove and defending champion Elimay will be putting pressure on Allegorie De Vassy, especially if jumping errors creep into her effort.
“Her jumping would be a fairly sizable worry,” he said. “She was completely unpressured in the lead which certainly isn’t going to be the case at Cheltenham.
“She’s going to be up against two solid 150-rated mares from Ireland anyway in Impervious and Scarlet And Dove and I’d be fairly sure they are at that mark.
“She might have more brilliance than them, she was really strong at the line on Sunday and has bags of ability.
“But her jumping is suspect and all four of her starts have been right-handed and she was inclined to do that in France as well so it’s going to be an interesting race.
“I think it’s a decent race and well worth having.”
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