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Off The Fence: Barry Geraghty 'buzzing' after Constitution Hill demolition in Fighting Fifth Hurdle

Geraghty made comparisons to the likes of Binocular and Hurricane Fly when discussing Constitution Hill's Fighting Fifth performance; Tony Keenan also hailed the performance of L'Homme Presse; watch the full Off The Fence episode below

Off The Fence returns for a brand new season with Barry Geraghty, Tony Keenan and Vanessa Ryle
Image: Off The Fence returns for a brand new season with Barry Geraghty, Tony Keenan and Vanessa Ryle

Gold Cup and Grand National winner Barry Geraghty couldn't hide his excitement when discussing Constitution Hill's breathtaking victory in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last weekend.

Geraghty, a former stable jockey to Nicky Henderson, knows the star hurdler better than most having prepared the horse at his home before being sold to owner Michael Buckley.

He famously even allowed his young daughters to ride the horse as a three-year-old, thanks to the horse's remarkably laidback demeanour, especially given his exploits on the track.

But it was Constitution Hill's devastating performance at Newcastle on Saturday that impressed Geraghty, admitting he was "buzzing" after the 12-length victory over Epatante, with the five-year-old now odds-on to win the Champion Hurdle in March.

"For me, it was a bit like Cheltenham," Geraghty told Off The Fence. "You're hoping for a big performance and then, boom, he just delivers.

"I think it was a great decision to roll on with him and keep it straightforward. He schools brilliantly, he's so relaxed. It's everything he does.

"It was a big call by Nicky and Nico to let him pop along and just step it up as he went.

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Flightline and jockey Flavien Prat after their victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Keenelend
Image: Flightline and jockey Flavien Prat after their victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Keenelend

"Interestingly, Jamie Lynch clocked him from the four furlong pole to the two furlong pole and was 0.8 seconds slower than Flight Line in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

"I wouldn't have used that comparison but Jamie knows what he's talking about.

"He's had a bit of work on his back and done a good bit of work that could bring out a bit of improvement.

"The jump he threw at the last, he was rapid quick like a Buveur D'Air, Hurricane Fly or Binocular and through the race he was really good, really professional.

"For me, it was a brilliant buzz to see him roll down the straight like that."

L'Homme Presse
Image: L'Homme Presse

Tony Keenan also praised the performance of Rehearsal Chase winner L'Homme Presse, who made a winning seasonal reappearance for the Venetia Williams team at Newcastle, defying top weight in the process.

"It was a very encouraging return from him," Keenan said. "The only fault really was the bad mistake at the sixth but he was soon back going.

"I was impressed with the way he travelled through the race, the jockey never really had to get serious with him and it's coming at the time when the yard has been a bit quiet and also a track that might not have suited him.

"Venetia Williams said after Aintree that a flat, left-handed track might not have suited him and Newcastle is similar to that and he coped with that just fine."

Barry Geraghty

Now retired after a 24-year career in the saddle which yielded 43 Cheltenham Festival successes, Gold Cup and Grand National-winning jockey Barry Geraghty returns to At The Races, with whom he enjoyed a fruitful relationship as ambassador and columnist between 2012 and 2019.

An iconic National Hunt rider still well connected and riding work at some of the sport's biggest yards, Barry has won all there is to win in jumps racing and is sure to give Off The Fence viewers raw insight each week.

Vanessa Ryle

A popular member of the Sky Sports Racing on-course presenter team who also fronts The Bloodstock Show, host Vanessa is an avid jumps racing fan, and will be tasked each week with steering her analyst colleagues 'Off The Fence'.

Tony Keenan's resident Irish tipster and analyst, Tony Keenan has also played a leading role alongside Barry in ATR's Cheltenham Preview Nights in Dublin since 2017. As sharp-tongued as he is sharp-minded, Tony's regular unique takes and no-nonsense delivery will no doubt keep Off The Fence viewers (and Barry and Vanessa!) on their toes.

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