Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wizard Has a Bit Up His Sleeve; West Is Best for Henderson in Imperial Geraghty Will See Us Alright

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wizard Has a Bit Up His Sleeve; West Is Best for Henderson in Imperial Geraghty Will See Us Alright

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Owen

NICKY HENDERSON gave my Cheltenham fund a welcome boost when Dave's Dream bolted up in the Imperial Cup at 12-1 six years ago and the old fox can bail me out again.

WEST WIZARD (3.10) has always had a huge reputation at Seven Barrrows, but punters were well and truly gutted when he was turned over at odds-on three times at Kempton since opening his account with an impressive bumper debut at the track two years ago.

The King's Theatre gelding dips his toes in handicap company for the first time in a hot race for a lighly-raced six-year-old, but his enthusiastic owner Dai Walters is hoping for improvement.

He said: "Nicky isn't really that keen to run him in a big handicap like this, but he's got to run somewhere and we've got to give it a go. He's been working well at home, he's been TURN TO PAGE TWO FROM PAGE ONE been beaten a few times at Kempton, so let's hope he has better luck at Sandown.

"We put him in the two-and-ahalf-mile race (EBF Final), but we just felt with the tacky ground, two miles would suit him better."

He's be running against some decent animals in defeat and while I hate making excuses for favourites getting gubbed, I'm prepared to give the Wizard one more chance to wave his magic wand in the hands of Barry Geraghty.

Henderson said: "We were rather hoping for better ground with West Wizard, that is why we have taken him out of the EBF Final and dropped him back to two miles in the Imperial Cup.

"We thought, on that ground, two and a half miles might just stretch him. Two miles on that ground will be enough for him and he looks fit and well."

Today can prove a real Festival boost for Seven Barrows as I fancy they can land the valuable novices' handicap hurdle with AIGLE DE LA SEE (2.00).

The course and distance winner is two from two for Henderson since joining him in January. He scored on his handicap debut here at the end of January, showing a good attitude to see off Monbeg Theatre. Henderson said after the race: "He hasn't shown us anything at home and probably just handles this ground when the others can't.

"He's clearly better on a racecourse than he is at home. …

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