Can Barry Geraghty Stay Injury Free This Season?
It’s been a frustrating 18 months for jockey Barry Geraghty, who spent large chunks of the National Hunt season away from the racecourse recovering from numerous injuries. With the flat season reaching a conclusion at the end of September, Geraghty looks set to make his return to the track and the JP McManus rider will be hoping to stay clear of the treatment table.
Source: The Irish Examiner via Twitter
Geraghty is a household name to racing fans and is a two-time champion jockey in Ireland. He’s a regular at the Aintree meeting, where he has missed just a single Grand National since the year 2000 and is a multiple winner at the Cheltenham Festival. The 38-year-old will be hoping to add to his impressive collection of wins during the 2017-18 National Hunt season.
2003 was a milestone year for the County Meath-born sportsman, with a record-equalling five winners at the Cheltenham Festival and a Grand National success on board outsider Monty’s Pass for trainer Jimmy Mangan. As a result of his exploits, he was subsequently voted Irish Sports Personality of the Year, an award which has only ever been won by two jockeys since its inception in 1985.
2009 was another big year for the jockey as he rode his 1000th winner under National Hunt rules in the UK and landed four of the big races at the Cheltenham Festival, including riding Punjabi to success in the Champion Hurdle for trainer Nicky Henderson.
The profession of jockey is always fraught with danger and it’s deemed a risky career choice but Geraghty appears to have incurred his fair share of bad luck over the past 18 months, with injuries such as a broken arm, punctured lung and most recently a hairline fracture to the shoulder blade frustratingly preventing him from competing at some of the biggest events on the National Hunt Calendar.
His latest setback was the result of a fall at Killarney at the end of August on board Cook Islands in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Hurdle and it is likely to keep him sidelined for around four weeks. The Irish Grand National wasn’t any kinder to Geraghty as he fell at the eighth fence riding Minella Foru and was taken straight to hospital for X-rays, being forced to miss the remainder of the card at Fairyhouse.
He was booked for just 174 rides in Ireland during the 2016-17 season compared to a total of 289 across the previous 12 months and managed just 32 winners during that period. It was his lowest number of rides since 1995 and Geraghty appeared visibly frustrated by his unfortunate streak.
Source: PA Racing via Twitter
In the UK, he competed in 153 races, his lowest total for 10 years but still impressively managed 41 winners during that time. He was ruled out of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival due to a punctured lung which he unfortunately sustained back in February at Kempton but luckily he did manage to return in time for Aintree. His return was a profitable one for backers of Beveur D’Air as he rode the Nicky Henderson-trained charge to success in the Aintree Hurdle on Day One of the festival.
Racing fans are desperately hoping Geraghty will be fit enough to compete in the 2018 staging at Prestbury Park and they’re looking forward to seeing him back in the saddle. The second most successful jockey at the Cheltenham festival will have his eyes on returning to the prestigious event at the start of March 2018 and racegoers will no doubt be rushing to back many of his mounts. Moscow Flyer was his first ever winner at the festival back in 2002, wrapping up the Arkle for trainer Jessica Harrington. He clearly enjoys the steeplechase event, with later successes on Forpadydeplasterer, Simonsig and the legendary Sprinter Sacre.
Geraghty is feeling positive ahead of the new jumps season, saying “everything feels good so far”, and adding “…hopefully I can have a good run, I haven’t had one for a while”. He is certain to pick up a large number of rides as the retained rider for JP McManus and with the likes of the Morgiana Hurdle, Hatton’s Grace Hurdle and Istabraq Hurdle all to come before the end of the year, he is likely to be heavily involved as he bids to be Ireland’s top jockey for the third time.
October also sees the Charlie Hall Chase and the Old Roan Chase kicking off the National Hunt season in the UK and Geraghty will be hoping for plenty of bookings during a busy few months for jumps fans. Racing enthusiasts are looking forward to the National Hunt action getting into full swing, keeping an eye on all of the upcoming meetings at timeform.com and preparing tips and bets. The Hennessey Gold Cup gets underway in November and is another contest staged in the early part of the National Hunt campaign and Geraghty would love to win this race for the third time after previous successes at Newbury on board Bob’s Worth and Triolo D’Alene back in 2012 and 2013.
Despite his numerous setbacks this year, Geraghty showed his class when guiding Tigris River to glory during the Galway Festival at the end of July. The 38-year-old had never managed to win the Galway Hurdle previously and admitted it was “a thrill to win it at long last”. He’d previously bagged a couple of second place finishes in the event but narrowly secured his inaugural victory this time around in the closing stages.
Geraghty has no plans of retiring any time soon and is delighted to return to the saddle. He will be hoping for an uninterrupted run this season and is likely to feel that he is due some luck along the way. JP McManus will continue to dominate the National Hunt scene with his string of classy recruits and Geraghty is certain to collect plenty of bookings throughout the next 10 months. Racing fans can look forward to seeing much more of the 38-year-old this season and he’ll be hoping to avoid any further trips to hospital in 2018.