Geraghty, man for the big occasion, hangs up his saddle
Grand National win was my career high, says 40-year-old Greatest era for Irish jump jockeys is drawing to a close
Barry Geraghty, one of the most successful jump jockeys of the past 20 years, has announced his retirement from racing. His tally of 43 Cheltenham Festival winners, five of which came in March shortly before the lockdown, is bettered only by Ruby Walsh.
With Walsh and Paul Carberry already retired, Geraghty, 40, joining them, Davy Russell just turned 41, and Robbie Power not far behind at 38, it is another reminder that perhaps the greatest era for Irish jump jockeys in the history of the sport is drawing to its close.
Geraghty’s first big winner in Britain was as a teenager on Miss Orchestra for Jessica Harrington, his long-term ally, in the 1998 Midlands Grand National. He was champion jump jockey in Ireland in 1999-2000 and again in 2003-04.
In 2003, a few weeks after riding five winners at the Cheltenham Festival and earning his reputation as a man for the big occasion, he rode the Jimmy Mangan-trained Monty’s Pass to victory in the Grand National, enjoying such a dream ride he described it as “like a schooling session”. He can rightly claim to have ridden two of the best two-mile chasers of this century in Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre, he won the Gold Cup on Kicking King and Bobs Worth – who he had sold as a young horse to Nicky Henderson – and four Champion Hurdles, on Punjabi, Jezki, Buveur d’Air and Epatante.
One of his finest rides was when Riverside Theatre, who was off the bridle after three fences, beat the AP McCoy-ridden Albertas Run in the 2012 Ryanair Chase.
His career could be divided into three sections: when he rode mainly for Harrington, Henderson
Day to remember: Barry Geraghty wins the 2003 Grand National on Monty’s Pass
Change of pace: Geraghty can now spend more time with wife Paula and family