Geraghty set to return from the sidelines

Barry Geraghty is nearing the end of his road to recovery from a broken arm as the National Hunt season prepares to crank up a gear.

Geraghty, who is retained by JP McManus, was sporting the leading owner’s famous green and gold silks in the Summer Plate at Market Rasen in July when he suffered the injury to his right arm after Cerunnos capsized at the final fence.

Being sidelined with broken bones is an occupational hazard for jump jockeys and the Meath man admitted that aside from the Galway Race and Listowel Festival, he’d been fortunate to miss a period of mundane fare over obstacles.

Geraghty’s most optimistic date for a comeback would see him feature on Gowran Park’s card on 1 October.

Elaborating on his return to full fitness, the former champion jockey told Hugh Cahill and Game On listeners on RTÉ 2fm: “I rode a couple of bits of work this morning on a few horses. It has a bit to improve yet.

“I’ve been off for nine weeks now, so I suppose another two weeks should nearly put me right.

“I’d a good physio session in Santry before lunch, so I’d even feel better for that.

“It’ll take a little bit of time, but I’d like to think that it could be in good shape by the weekend after next.

“It broke in two places and I got a plate and 10 screws in.

“That got me mobile quickly, which was a help, because I was doing physio within a fortnight of the fall.

“It wasn’t that painfully, thankfully, but it was swinging loose at the time, so not the greatest sensation!”

With many in the weighing room waging a constant battle against the scales, inactivity due to injury – and the weight gain that often follows – can prove a major headache.

“It’s kind of a way of life,” said Geraghty, who happens to be married to a nutritionist.

“You’re not going to be tucking in to a Chinese every second night.

“You’ll know if you’ve pigged out a little and you’ll rein back again and keep it at a level.

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“I generally wouldn’t get too heavy, but then when I go back into training before I get back from an injury, you tend to tone up and muscle up, you actually get a little bit heavier

“It takes two or three weeks for the fat to burn off.”

With an impressive armoury of equine talent to go to war with this winter, Geraghty fist highlighted the prospects of Jezki, who he guided to Champion Hurdle glory at Cheltenham in 2014.

“It's hard to believe he is as good as he is at that age" – Barry Geraghty on Jack Kennedy

Jessica Harrington’s charge edged out My Tent Or Yours in hurdling’s blue riband, resulting in a 1-2 in the race for JP McManus, with Geraghty getting the better of his predecessor Tony McCoy.

“He’s a great horse,” Geraghty said.

“I was lucky enough to win the Champion Hurdle on him two years ago and then he did well in the staying division.

“You probably would be looking at the three-mile World Hurdle route this year, I’d imagine.

“He’s a very good horse and he’s proved himself at both distances, so hopefully there’ll be a bit of fun to have with him.”

Geraghty also won the World Hurdle in 2014 when More Of That sunk Annie Power, who was many punters’ banker for the meeting.

Jonjo O’Neill’s son of beneficial fluffed his lines when favourite for the RSA Chase at this year’s festival, but Geraghty remains a believer, saying: “More Of That, I would be looking forward to him, I’m not sure if we saw his best at Cheltenham.

“He won the World Hurdle a couple of years ago and he’s a very good horse.

“If he can get back to that level of form, there could be good fun with him.”

The unexposed trio of Minella Rocco, Coney Island and Sutton Place also came in for praise.

“Minella Rocco looks like a horse who is only learning his way,” he opined. “There’s improvement in him.

“Coney Island is a lovely big raw type, a baby. Sutton Place is the same.”

Young rider Jack Kennedy has enjoyed a meteoric rise since partnering his first winner in 2015, and Geraghty, now a veteran in the weighing room, was glowing in his praise for the teenager currently leading the race to be champion jockey in 2016-17.

“He’s very good, there’s no doubt,” Geraghty said.

“I suppose the easiest way to judge someone is by the mistakes they make, and Jack makes very few.

“He’s a very natural rider. Horses jump for him and travel.

“At his age, to be riding novices, in particular, horses that generally take the older hands and the head to organise and get them jumping and get a nice rhythm… Jack, at 17, is doing it straight away.

“It's hard to believe he is as good as he is at that age.

“He’s got a great attitude, too. He’s a lovely lad and he’s very level-headed.”

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