Posts

Geraghty and Johnson primed for Leger Legends duty

Barry Geraghty admits it will be a strange experience taking part in the Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster on Wednesday.

One of the sport’s greatest ever jump jockeys, and twice champion in Ireland, he has had little experience on the Flat.

The 41-year-old, who won the 2003 Grand National aboard Monty’s Pass and rode 43 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, teams up with Lambourn trainer Charlie Hills aboard Mumtaaz.

“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s great. His form is good. He had a good run at Windsor last time, so hopefully he can go well,” said Geraghty, who retired from the saddle in July 2020.

“A mile out of stalls will be very different. It will be a strange one, but I had plenty of winners at Doncaster.

“I’ve been riding out all summer so I’ve been keeping in reasonable shape.”

Among Geraghty’s rivals is four-time UK champion Richard Johnson, who will be aboard Greek Kodiac for Michael Bell.

Johnson, 44, only gave up race-riding in April after a long and highly-successful career. He won two Cheltenham Gold Cups, the Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase and rode more winners over jumps than any other jockey bar Sir Anthony McCoy – who won the Legends race in 2015.

“It will be the fastest I’ve been in five months, that is for sure. It’s fantastic to be involved and amazing to do something for the Injured Jockeys Fund. Anything we can do to help is not a problem,” he told Sky Sports Racing.

Richard Johnson rides Greek Kodiac in the Legends race
Richard Johnson rides Greek Kodiac in the Legends race (David Davies/PA)

“Hopefully, we’ll have fun and I’d love to win as well.

“He’s won a couple of races this year and apparently he likes a straight mile, which I presume is a good thing.

“I’ve had a few rides on the Flat, but only very limited experience so I’m hoping within reason I can go in a straight line and hopefully be quicker than the rest.

“I’ve not raced from out of the stalls for a few years, but it’s going to be great. Barry’s coming over from Ireland and the likes of Noel Fehily and Robert Winston off the Flat. Just a really good bunch and I’m sure it will be a bit of fun as well as being competitive.”

The race was first run in 2010 and has so far raised more than £1million for Jack Berry House and the Northern Racing College.

Johnson and Geraghty return in Leger Legends

Richard Johnson and Barry Geraghty are among the riders who will take part in the Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster.

Johnson retired from the saddle in April of last year following a glittering career – during which he won two Cheltenham Gold Cups, a Champion Hurdle and a Queen Mother Champion Chase.

He also rode more winners over jumps than any other jockey bar Sir Anthony McCoy – who won the Legends race in 2015 – and was crowned champion National Hunt jockey on four occasions.

Barry Geraghty will return to the saddle in the Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster
Barry Geraghty is among the contenders for the Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Johnson will partner Michael Bell’s Greek Kodiac on Wednesday, in a race which was first run in 2010 and has so far raised more than £1million for Jack Berry House and the Northern Racing College.

Geraghty, who won the 2003 Grand National aboard Monty’s Pass and rode 43 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, will be on board the Charlie Hills-trained Mumtaaz on Town Moor.

Johnson and Geraghty are two of 13 former riders who will contest the charity event.

Sammy Jo Bell, who won the race two years ago aboard Dubai Acclaim, is this year riding Fennaan – trained by her partner Phillip Makin.

Brian Harding (First Dance/Tom Tate) and Noel Fehily (Vasco da Gama/Gay Kelleway) are also in the mix.

The most valuable race on the opening day of the St Leger Festival is the £80,000 Japan Racing Association Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes, which has attracted a field of 12 runners.

Tarboosh is set to defend his Listed crown in the Cazoo Scarbrough Stakes
Tarboosh is set to defend his Listed crown in the Cazoo Scarbrough Stakes (PA)

Likely contenders for the Group Three contest include Ivan Furtado’s stable star Just Beautiful, who was denied only narrowly in a Group Three in France on her latest appearance.

John Quinn saddles consistent filly Highland Princess – runner-up to Space Blues in last month’s City of York Stakes – while Jessica Harrington’s Loch Lein and the Henry de Bromhead-trained Wren’s Breath both travel from Ireland.

Potapova (Sir Michael Stoute) and Sweet Enough (John and Thady Gosden) also feature.

Last year’s winner Tarboosh faces six rivals in defence of his crown in the Listed Cazoo Scarbrough Stakes.

Paul Midgley’s veteran sprinter is taken on by a handful of familiar names, with Robert Cowell’s Arecibo setting the standard on ratings.

Barry Geraghty auctioning Cheltenham-winning breeches for charity

Barry Geraghty hung up his riding boots in July – and is now putting his Cheltenham Festival-winning breeches up for auction in aid of the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund.

Bidding has opened and will close on Sunday night, for the signed and framed breeches – in an auction backed by Sporting Index as their ambassador Geraghty seeks to raise money for a cause close to his heart.

Geraghty wore them throughout this year’s Cheltenham Festival, including when riding his fifth and final winner at the four-day meeting – and 43rd at the showpiece event through his career – on Saint Roi in the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle.

On announcing his retirement four months later, he made it clear he had already known when passing the line at the end of Cheltenham in March that he would not be back to ride there again.

As the home of National Hunt racing begins its new season this week, the 41-year-old Irishman said: “Having had my fair share of injuries, I got to know about the superb work that the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund do.

“They play an integral part for jockeys and racing as a whole – and any support we can give them will be greatly appreciated, I’m sure.

“Winning the County Hurdle on Saint Roi gave me a huge buzz, but it was obviously a strange feeling as I was getting off the horse in the winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham, knowing it would be my last.”

Geraghty is at ease with his decision to retire – but admits there could be the odd pang of mixed feelings when the superstar horses he rode to victory last season start to return to the track.

“I’m enjoying the new pace of life since retiring earlier this summer, and I’m not missing the race-riding too much yet,” he said.

“The real test will be when the big days come around, though, and I have to watch the likes of Epatante, Defi Du Seuil and Champ on the TV screen!”

Bids for Barry’s breeches can be made up until midnight on Sunday, October 25 at https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/signedbarrygeraghtybreeches.