McManus retainer role to ease travel pressures for Geraghty
Barry Geraghty says that the opportunity to spend more time with his young family was part of the appeal of accepting the position as JP McManus's retained rider.
Irish champion jockey in 2000 and 2004, the renowned big-race rider, who turns 36 in September, describes the decision to forfeit his blue-chip job with Nicky Henderson to fill AP McCoy's boots as first-choice jockey for jump racing's most powerful owner as a "win-win situation".
"It's a great job to get," the Co Meath native admitted on At The Races. "Obviously I've done seven years 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 and it might be a better balance, maybe doing two or three days in England and have more time at home."
"It works well on a personal level but it wasn't a decision I could take lightly. I've had a great time riding for Nicky. We've had great success."
"I have a great connection there and it definitely wasn't easy to walk away. I'd hope to ride a good few for Nicky when I'm not required for JP when I'm in England. JP has a great team of horses. 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."
McManus has been champion owner in Britain in eight of the last 10 years and 17 times in the last 20 years in Ireland. He and Geraghty have linked up to great effect in the past, with the Christy Roche-trained Youlneverwalkalone their first high-profile triumph together at the 2003 Cheltenham Festival.
Last year, Geraghty, a father of three, enjoyed Champion Hurdle glory on Jezki and a World Hurdle victory on More Of That when McCoy was second in McManus' first colours, while he also won the 2014 Irish Grand National on McManus' Shutthefrontdoor. He has long been odds-on to succeed the 20-time champion, and his rationale for doing so echoes that of Ruby Walsh's 2013 move away from Paul Nicholls. "Discussions probably started since Punchestown," Geraghty explained. "I met up with JP last week and we discussed it. It fits in really well.
"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."
Geraghty hopes to return to action early next month after breaking his shin bone in March.
Henderson has hinted that he may not be replaced, with his back-up team of Gold Cup-winning rider Nico De Boinville, Andrew Tinkler and David Bass set to gain extra opportunities. Richie McClernon, meanwhile, could fill a similar role on a daily basis for Jonjo O'Neill.