Thursday 29 September 2016

Barry Geraghty reveals his family were a big factor in accepting role with JP McManus

Keith Hamer

Published 23/06/2015 | 13:25

Jockey Barry Geraghty and
his wife Paula recently had a baby boy
Jockey Barry Geraghty and his wife Paula recently had a baby boy

Barry Geraghty has admitted accepting the role of number one rider for leading Irish owner JP McManus was not an easy decision.

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Speaking for the first time since the news of his appointment broke, the 35-year-old revealed the job offered a better balance from a personal point of view as he has a wife and young family.

As soon as Tony McCoy announced his intention to retire in February, Geraghty was favourite with the bookmakers to fill the massive void left by the 20-times champion.

The speculation continued when McCoy finally hung up his saddle in April and ended on Monday with news that Geraghty had accepted the role.

Geraghty has been riding principally for Seven Barrows trainer Nicky Henderson since 2008 and the pair have won most of the biggest races on the calendar together, including the Gold Cup with Bobs Worth and the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Sprinter Sacre, both in 2013.

However, his new appointment means he will not have to commute from Ireland as often as in the past.

"It's a great job to get. I suppose discussions probably started since Punchestown. I met up with JP last week and we discussed it. It fits in really well," Geraghty told At The Races.

"Obviously I've done seven years riding for Nicky and it's been brilliant. We've had some great success, but there's a lot of travel involved and a lot of time away.

"I have a young family here and I think it might be a better balance going forward, maybe doing two or three days in England and have more time at home. It works well on a personal level.

"It definitely suits well but it wasn't a decision I could take lightly.

"I've had a great time riding as first jockey for Nicky. We've had great success and a brilliant bunch of owners, who I would be very friendly with and going forward I would consider as friends.

"I have a great connection there and it definitely wasn't easy to walk away from that.

"I'd hope to ride a good few for Nicky when I'm not required for JP when I'm in England. I'd hope to keep the connection going even when I'm riding JP's horses for Nicky.

"JP has a great team of horses, likewise Nicky had too. I suppose it was a win-win situation, but lifestyle is definitely the strongest factor in it.

"I have a young family and had a little boy just a few weeks ago. It's a busy house and to be away as much as I've been away over the last seven years, it definitely takes its toll. It's good to have a better balance.

"I've discussed it with AP and I've discussed it with Nicky. I'm more than happy with it and I'm looking forward to it.

"We're all in it for the big days. It's nice to be riding winners any day of the week, but the big days really do count for an awful lot.

"The Irish Grand National was a great thrill and riding two winners at Cheltenham on Jezki and More Of That - that season was brilliant, so I've been very fortunate to have ridden some great winners for JP over the years.

"I had my second Festival winner on Youlneverwalkalone in 2003. I've been lucky to ride some nice horses for him over the years."

Geraghty named some of the key horses he is excited at teaming up with in his first season wearing the famous gold and green silks.

"It will be interesting to see how My Tent Or Yours is after having missed a season. He was only touched off by Jezki in the Champion Hurdle, so if gets back to that he should be a big player," he said.

"Shutthefrontdoor won the Irish Grand National and ran well in the English Grand National. He's a horse for future.

"Kitten Rock was impressive during the season and he should make a nice chaser. There is plenty of quality there and a lot to look forward to."

Geraghty has been sidelined with a broken shinbone since March but is now riding out again and is looking to be back in action early next month.

"I've been off for three months with a fractured shinbone. That's been a little bit slow and a lot slower than I thought," he said.

"I rode out yesterday morning and I was in with Gordon Elliott. I rode out three lots today.

"It's getting there and I'd hope to be back early in July."

McCoy believes Geraghty is the right choice.

"You want to give yourselves the best possible chance of winning and having someone like Barry on your side gives you that," McCoy told The Times.

"His record speaks for itself and you don't ride the big winners he's had without being top drawer in every department.

"He's got lots of experience, is good with people and there is a lot of class about him.

"Barry had a very close association with Nicky and I'm sure he would have found it difficult to walk away, but wearing the green and gold colours is the best job in jump racing and one very hard not to be interested in.

"There's nothing else like it."

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