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Sunday 11 December 2016

Barry Geraghty: Accepting role of number one rider for JP McManus wasn't an easy decision

Leon Blanche (BoyleSports), left, Ciaran Whelan (former Dublin Footballer), right, and Roz Purcell, centre, along with Laughill Blake (2014 winner) at the launch of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby 2015
Leon Blanche (BoyleSports), left, Ciaran Whelan (former Dublin Footballer), right, and Roz Purcell, centre, along with Laughill Blake (2014 winner) at the launch of the BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby 2015

Barry Geraghty has admitted accepting the role of number one rider for leading Irish owner JP McManus was not an easy decision.

Speaking for the first time since the news of his appointment broke this week, 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.

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 up with JP last week and we discussed it. It fits in really well," Geraghty said.

"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, who I would be very friendly with and going forward I would consider as friends.

"I'd hope to ride a good few for Nicky when I'm not required for JP when I'm in England.

"JP has a great team of horses, likewise Nicky too. I suppose it was a win-win situation, but lifestyle is definitely the strongest factor in it."

Geraghty has been sidelined with a broken shinbone since March but is now riding out again and is looking to be back in action early next month.

"I've been off for three months with a fractured shinbone. That's been a little bit slow and a lot slower than I thought," he said.

"I rode out yesterday morning and I was in with Gordon Elliott. I rode out three lots today.

"It's getting there and I'd hope to be back early in July."

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