Great Britain

Our Templegate on the remarkable career of Barry Geraghty and the ‘King of Cheltenham Festival’

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BARRY Geraghty will always be known as the King of Cheltenham to me.

The Irishman was pure magic around jump racing’s mecca with an impressive 43 wins at the Festival.

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It is typical that his last ride at Prestbury Park was a winning one on Saint Roi in the County Hurdle back in March.

His roll of honour stands up to the greats with two Cheltenham Gold Cups, four Champion Hurdles and five Champion Chases including a double on the brilliant Moscow Flyer.

His Grand National win on Monty’s Pass in 2003 was probably the most important of his 1,920 successes as it launched him on the big stage.

Barry’s retirement can't be called a surprise as the 40-year-old has been blighted by injuries lately.

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By the iron-man standards of jump jockeys he probably thinks he’s got off lightly by “only” breaking both legs, both arms, his ribs and his shoulder.

It’s a mark of how tough these guys are that he also talks of “a few other small fractures”. They really are a different breed.

I’m happy to confirm Barry’s reputation as one of racing’s good guys is fully deserved. After breaking his leg on the eve of last year’s Grand National the last thing he needed was me pestering him for a column about his Aintree heartbreak.

But he couldn’t have been more helpful and generous with his time while he must have been gutted.

Geraghty goes with racing fans heaving a sigh of relief that he’s walking away on his terms. After his stellar career, that’s the least he deserves.

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