Sporting John won for members of VG Tips at Exeter on November 5th at SP odds of 11/4. A nice winner on the day and one to keep in our notebooks for the future.
It wasn’t a day of racing that will live long in the memory. Too many racecourses were busy attracting crowds for firework displays rather than putting on races with attractive prize money.
I was pleased, however, to see Barry Geraghty back in the winners’ enclosure. Riding in the distinctive green and yellow hoops belonging to the gentleman of racing JP McManus, Geraghty produced Sporting John quite late to win and was able to ease down near the line.
After what Barry Geragthy has been through, it must be a relief for him to be involved in yet another season of National Hunt racing. The 40 year old jockey suffered “the worst fracture I’ve had” and some among the racing fraternity wondered if he would ever get back in the saddle. Would he be forced to join the the ranks of recently retired jockeys, including AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh. If so, it would be an involuntarily retirement.
Geraghty broke both the tibia and fibula just above his right ankle when Peregrine Run fell in the Topham Chase at Aintree in April. His right leg was in a frame for thirteen weeks.
Barry told Chris Cook of The Guardian: “It was a straightforward break, a clean break, but it had to be realigned. I’ve broken the other leg, I’ve broken both arms but yeah…I’d say it was the worst fracture I’ve ever had.”
Geraghty was “shocked” when Ruby Walsh chose to retire but acknowledges that, the older a jockey gets, the harder it is to recover from falls.
He says: “I would have denied that for years. But our four year old son broke his leg off the trampoline two years ago. He was running around in the cast twelve days later. I wasn’t running around in the cast twelve weeks later. As much as you want to deny it, the body slows down.”
Geraghty will be hoping to avoid further injuries. Next March he’ll have the opportunity to extend his tally of Cheltenham Festival winners. With his friend Ruby Walsh now retired, Barry has more festival victories than any jockey who still holds a licence.
Speaking to David Jennings of the Racing Post during the summer months, Geragthy said: “Would you believe I barely put on a pound. I was 10-8 when I got the frame off, I was 10-10 during Galway and I was 10-9 when I weighed myself yesterday. That’s why I married a nutritionist! I might not have been riding but I was kept busy. Kids will always keep you busy.”
They’ll have to occupy themselves for a few months now that daddy is back where he belongs. In the saddle.