Racing: Tough choice for Geraghty

Barry Geraghty
Barry Geraghty
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Barry Geraghty has admitted accepting the role of No 1 rider for leading Irish owner JP McManus was not an easy decision.

Speaking for the first time since the news of his appointment broke, the 35-year-old revealed the job offered a better balance from a personal point of view as he has a wife and young family.

As soon as Tony McCoy announced his intention to retire in February, Geraghty was favourite with the bookmakers to fill the massive void left by the 20-times champion.

The speculation continued when McCoy finally hung up his saddle in April and ended on Monday with news that Geraghty had accepted the role.

Geraghty has been riding principally for Seven Barrows trainer Nicky Henderson since 2008 and the pair have won most of the biggest races on the calendar together, including the Gold Cup with Bobs Worth and the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Sprinter Sacre, both in 2013.

However, his new appointment means he will not have to commute from Ireland as often as in the past.

“It’s a great job to get. I suppose discussions probably started since Punchestown. I met JP last week and we discussed it. It fits in really well,” said Geraghty.

“Obviously, I’ve done seven years riding 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 here and I think it might be a better balance going forward, maybe doing two or three days in England and have more time at home. It works well on a personal level.

“It definitely suits well but it wasn’t a decision I could take lightly.

“I’ve had a great time riding as first jockey for Nicky. We’ve had great success and a brilliant bunch of owners.”