Barry Geraghty retires: Five of his most iconic rides

Champ was a remarkable winner of the RSA Chase with Champ.
Champ was a remarkable winner of the RSA Chase with Champ.

Following the news that Barry Geraghty has called time on his glittering 24-year career in the saddle, Nick Seddon has picked out five of his most iconic rides...

Monty's Pass - 2003 Grand National

Geraghty was already a jockey firmly on the rise thanks in some part to a certain Moscow Flyer - who we'll mention later - though his victory on Monty's Pass in the 2003 Grand National was arguably the biggest success of his career to that point.

The ten-year-old was subject to a huge gamble by his principal owner Mike Futter, who won in excess of £800,000 having backed the 16/1 shot at much bigger prices ante-post from January, and he received a typically composed ride from the 23-year-old Geraghty. Sitting in a prominent position throughout, Monty's Pass was level with fellow 16/1 chance Gunner Welburn heading over the Melling Road, but he quickly took control and provided Geraghty with his sole winner in the Aintree showpiece. 

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Moscow Flyer - 2004 Tingle Creek

While we regularly have a star name in the two-mile chasing division, we had an embarrassment of riches at the turn of the century, with a handful of bona fide top-class performers around at the same time. One of those was Moscow Flyer, and while it's difficult to pick out just one of his races, the 2004 renewal of the Tingle Creek stands out as one of Geraghty's finest rides on board. The 2003 Champion Chaser had unseated his rider at four out when going well in the 2004 running under Geraghty, opening the door for the Paul Nicholls-trained Azertyuiop to claim victory in the process, and having redeemed himself with wins at both Aintree and Punchestown that spring, he arrived at Sandown with redemption on his mind.

However, Moscow Flyer was heading into the veteran stage of his career by this point as a ten-year-old, and Azertyuiop - who was three years his junior - was sent off as an odds-on favourite for a contest which also included the previous season's Arkle winner Well Chief (who himself was five), and the trio served up one of the most pulsating races in living memory. Always prominent, Geraghty began to turn the screw on proceedings from four out with his mount, who responded to all of his urgings and gamely held off the attentions of his two vastly younger rivals to pick up his eighth Grade 1 victory over fences - a tally he would subsequently extend to ten. 

Bobs Worth - 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup

Geraghty twice justified favouritism in the Cheltenham Gold Cup during his career, on both Kicking King in 2005 and Bobs Worth in 2013, and his ride on the latter was a paritcularly masterful one. Bobs Worth was a taking winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup (now known as the Ladbrokes Trophy) at Newbury earlier in the season, a race which regularly produces top-class chasers, though he was pitched into a particularly warm renewal of the Gold Cup, which included a previous Gold Cup winner in Long Run, the Betfair Chase winner Silviniaco Conti, the Irish Gold Cup winner Sir Des Champs and the previous year's runner-up The Giant Bolster

Rounding the turn for home, Bobs Worth was slow to get into gear for Geraghty, and it looked as though the finish would be fought out between Long Run and Sir Des Champs after Silviniaco Conti had fallen three out. That departure impeded Bobs Worth, but Geraghty continued to ask his mount for more, and the eight-year-old began to stay on particularly strongly. There was practically a line of four at the second last as The Giant Bolster also rallied at the leading pair, but Bobs Worth wouldn't be denied, and he stayed on well to record a seven length success.  

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Sprinter Sacre - 2013 Punchestown Champion Chase

While the greatest chapter in Sprinter Sacre's history almost certainly came under Nico de Boinville, he was at his brilliant best in 2013, when completing a notable treble under Barry Geraghty. Sprinter Sacre had won his first nine starts in a row over fences - eight of those under Geraghty - and made the journey over the Irish Sea to Punchestown looking to complete a feat which is rarely achieved - by sealing wins at each of Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown.

Sprinter Sacre had hammered Sizing Europe - who was a champion chaser himself - by 19 lengths in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, though that rival lined up fresher having swerved Merseyside, and Sprinter was made to work in what quickly turned into a match race. Geraghty kept his cool and Sprinter Sacre took control of proceedings in the closing stages, drawing clear late on to justify 9/1-on favouritism, and set himself out as one of the greatest chasers in living memory. 

Champ - 2020 RSA Chase

The Nicky Henderson-trained Champ is named after the legendary jockey A.P. McCoy, meaning he carries an awful lot of expectation on his shoulders, though he delivered with one of the most unlikely-looking victories in recent memory when winning this year's RSA Chase - despite hitting 719-1 in-running on the Betfair Exchange. 

The market leaders Minella Indo and Allaho seemed to have it between them heading to the second last, with Champ a good seven lengths behind the pair in third, though Geraghty was insistent after the race that he still thought his mount had a chance from his unlikely position. 

He said: “I knew we still had a chance turning in, I was probably six or seven lengths down but I thought I had a chance. 

“I jumped the second last and I thought they were getting away a little bit, but I knew when I’d committed to pop the last, and the two in front weren’t brilliant at the last either, so on landing on the back of it I’m smelling the money again."

Geraghty has winning instinct in abundance as a 43-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival (Champ was his 40th), and his never say die attitude paid dividends as Champ closed on the leading pair all the way to the line, eventually picking up the lead in the dying strides to seal a truly remarkable success. 

Today's Racing Naps
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