• In the Stables with Barry Geraghty

    I saw my surgeon Paddy Kenny early yesterday morning and I'm still hoping to be back in action at the Galway festival. He’s happy with how everything is coming along and as I’ve been on the sidelines since Easter Monday, I’m pretty happy myself!

    Paddy is going to have another look at my left arm in a couple of weeks’ time just to be sure. I've been in physio for about a month and I’m really going to get stuck into that now. Loads of the jockeys have been to see Enda King in the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry and he’s been very good to me.

    And more than likely, I’ll sit up on a horse for the first time since my fall at Fairyhouse next week. JP McManus has horses with Gordon Elliott and I will probably go down to Gordon to check them out ahead of Galway. The Festival is very much the highlight of the summer for those of us in the National Hunt game and I’ll definitely be looking to improve my record in the two big ones of the week, the Galway Hurdle and the Plate.

    I’ve never won either race but I have come close in the Hurdle on a few occasions. I was second on Dermot Weld’s Mutakarrim to Say Again back in 2002 and more recently I was third on Gordon Elliott’s Dirar two years in-a-row. Thomas Edison fell at the last two years ago and he’d have been involved at the finish if he had stayed up.

    But the one that got away was Cuan Na Grai in 2006. I was set to ride him for Paul Nolan but missed out after taking a fall in the beginners’ chase at the start of the day. I broke my nose and cheekbone in the fall and ended up watching the race from hospital with David Casey sitting beside me! When my lad fell, I brought David down and he ended up breaking his collarbone.

    So maybe I’m due. The entries for the race close this day next week and even then it will be way too early to say what I’ll be riding. But JP is unlikely to be short of options. There is huge prize-money on offer obviously and he’ll have plenty entered up no doubt.

    And my record in the Plate isn’t much better. JP has won it five times in recent years but not since 2013. I went closest on his Jacksonslady that year and JP actually owned the first three home in the race with Carlingford Lough beating Quantitativeeasing and my mare. Again, I’m sure he will have a good team among the entries next Wednesday and there will a few for me to choose from. I’d love to win the race for him. It’s pointless trying to predict now what I’ll ride. God knows what the weather will be like over the next few weeks and it’s nearly impossible to work out what weights the horses will carry at this stage.

    Not that there is anything wrong with my weight! I probably have three or four lbs to lose but no more than that. I’m well minded by my wife Paula. The upside of being away from the riding is that you get to spend so much time at home. I’m sure Paula is a bit sick of me at this stage and she’s entitled to be! Síofra is 11, Órla is six and Rían is two so it’s a busy house and I think they’ve enjoyed having me around. We are just back from holidays and there is plenty to keep them occupied for the rest of the summer. We have a couple of ponies for the kids and its all go to be honest.

    I love the sales and really enjoy seeing a nice horse I’ve been involved with doing well. I've been lucky with the likes of Bobs Worth and Brain Power and I got a great kick out of seeing Canardier win for Dermot McLoughlin at the Punchestown festival. I bought a nice Stowaway with Aidan Fitzgerald at the Derby Sale at Fairyhouse a couple of weeks ago and have always had a nice with Warren Ewing. The sale at Tattersalls was very strong and it was tough to buy, probably harder than ever. It was the same at the Landrover Sale at Goffs this year.

    But as much as I love being at home and at the sales, it will be good to get back to the track. I missed Galway last year with a broken arm (the other one!) and I missed some big winners at Cheltenham after breaking seven ribs and suffering a collapsed lung in a fall at Kempton at the end of February. The fall at Fairyhouse meant that I missed Punchestown.  They were huge blows but it was some consolation to ride at Aintree and I had a great few days there. The likes of Defi Du Seuil, Buveur D’Air and Yanworth will all be coming back in shortly I’m sure and there is so much to look forward to with them later in the year.

    And the horses nearer to home have been going well too. JP has had a great run of it and it was fantastic to see him have five winners on the same night at Bellewstown on Saturday. They are obviously not missing me as much as I’m missing them!

    We are lucky to have Mark Walsh and Jody McGarvey riding for us. Mark was riding plenty of winners before he got hurt at Tipperary on Thursday. He’s fractured his cheekbone, an injury I know only too well. It shouldn’t keep him out for too long. Like us all, Mark has had his share of knocks, he would have been a champion jockey but for breaking his leg a couple of seasons back and of course he missed Cheltenham this year too. But he had a good Punchestown and deserves his success.

    Jody rides well and continues to step up when called upon. He enjoyed some big success with Great Field all spring and is riding plenty of winners. I was delighted for him that he won the Grade 3 at Tipperary on Thursday night and then got two more at Bellewstown on Saturday. 

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