Daily Mail

Geraghty expects Constituti­on Hill thrill

- Racing Correspond­ent

BARRY GERAGHTY says his family’s involvemen­t with Constituti­on Hill would put success for the red-hot Champion Hurdle favourite on a par with anything he achieved in the saddle.

Geraghty partnered 43 Cheltenham Festival winners before his 2020 retirement and rode some of the sport’s most iconic racehorses, headed by Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre. He also rode four Champion Hurdle winners.

But there is an extra dimension to his involvemen­t with the 4- 11 favourite for next Tuesday’s big race, who now wears the colours of owner Michael Buckley.

After Geraghty bought Constituti­on Hill as a foal for only ¤16,500, his young daughters Siofra, Orla and Rian were all involved in his formative years — even riding the relaxed gelding before the 22-length winner of last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle joined

Nicky Henderson’s Lambourn stable. Geraghty, the two-time champion jump jockey in Ireland, said: ‘All three rode him but we only have footage of Orla doing it. She was nine at the time and he was three.

‘It’s a bit unheard of and he is the only one they have ridden. He was the most laid-back horse ever. We’ve had some other nice horses but never anything as horizontal as him!

‘My career was about riding a winner for the owner and the trainer. That was an individual experience for me but to have my family involved makes it a little bit different. The kids have ridden him, helped around the yard and done things like taking him on and off the horse-walker.

‘ When he won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, it is right up there with the best days I have had. I never imagined I would experience anything like that.’

A mistake at the last fence on his point- to- point debut cost Constituti­on Hill victory but he has never been beaten in five races since joining Henderson. That includes effortless­ly brushing aside Geraghty’s 2020 Champion Hurdle winner Epatante on his two runs this season.

Geraghty admitted Constituti­on Hill’s relaxed attitude had his old boss Henderson worried at first, saying: ‘Nicky phoned me up and said, “Tell me about this horse, what have you sold me? He is holding everything up in the indoor ride and on the sand gallop when we are cantering. He is so laid-back and lazy”.

‘He was worried I had sold him a pony! I just said, “Nicky, when you get him on a gallop and give him a squeeze, you will know what you have got’’. The next phone call was a lot better.

‘Epatante is a very good mare and he has been beating her comfortabl­y.

‘I told Michael before he bought him that Constituti­on Hill was a little bit different. He was showing the signs you get from the potential superstars. There is something a little bit different about those horses — life is really easy for them. They are just naturals.’

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