Geraghty looking for festive cheer

Barry Geraghty is looking forward to teaming up with Punjabi in the Stan James Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.

Barry Geraghty is looking forward to teaming up with Punjabi in the Stan James Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.

The five-year-old, third in last season’s Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, made a successful reappearance with a hard-fought victory over 2007 title-holder Sublimity in the rescheduled “Fighting Fifth” Hurdle at Wetherby.

That win came in the first leg of the WBX Triple Crown with a £1m bonus up for grabs should one horse complete the “Fighting Fifth”, Christmas Hurdle and Champion Hurdle treble in the same season.

“He battled well at Wetherby – Sublimity is a Champion Hurdle winner and a classy horse,” Geraghty told At The Races.

“He goes on any ground and is very versatile. I’m looking forward to it.”

Punjabi is 6-4 favourite with the sponsors to continue his trainer Nicky Henderson’s domination of the hurdling division following Binocular’s demolition of his rivals in the Boylesports.com International at Ascot yesterday.

Charlie McCann, head of PR at Stan James, said: “Nicky Henderson has an embarrassment of riches in the hurdling department and his Champion Hurdle third Punjabi is a worthy 6-4 favourite to follow up his Wetherby ”Fighting Fifth“ success.”

Stan James Christmas Hurdle, sponsors bet: 6-4 Punjabi, 4-1 Snap Tie, 5-1, Pierrot Lunaire, 6-1 Straw Bear, 8-1 Blue Bajan, 12-1 Harchibald, 20-1 Afsoun, Aitmatov, 50-1 Khyber Kim, 66-1 Leslingtaylor.

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