Barry Geraghty’s career spans 27 years and well over 1,000 winners yet an Irish Grand National winner still eludes the two-time Irish Champion jockey.
Ironically, the Meath native grew up just a short distance from the Fairyhouse track that hosts the National festival every Easter.
“It’s a great race,” Geraghty told RTÉ Sport. “I’m from very close to Fairyhouse, only about ten minutes away, so I grew up going to the National as a kid and always dreamt of winning it but unfortunately it hasn’t come my way yet.”
Geraghty will ride Jonjo O’Neill’s strongly-fancied Shutthefrontdoor in Monday’s Boylesports Irish Grand National, and he will be hoping to break his duck after never quite getting into the mix on the winning line.
He said: “Fifth or sixth is the best I’ve done. I’ve ridden a lot of favourites over the years, plenty of fancied horses but unfortunately I’ve been brought down, fallen or pulled up.”
“You do need a lot of luck and it’s such a competitive handicap” - Barry Geraghty
The National is one of the biggest prizes in Irish horse racing – last year 50/1 shot Liberty Counsel claimed the win for Mullingar trainer Dot Love – and like its UK counterpart race at Aintree it can often take more than a bit of luck to make it first past the post, a fact Geraghty clearly acknowledges.
“You do need a lot of luck and it’s such a competitive handicap,” he said.
“It’s a classy race. You’ve seen the results the last couple of years. [Trainer] Dot Love won it last year, with a light weight as well which is a big help too.
“I can’t really do those light weights, so it doesn’t really help my case either.
“But that’s the race and it does tend to be wide open.”
The JP McManus-owned Shutthefrontdoor is currently 12/1 for the race, joint-second favourite behind 10/1 shot Home Farm, trained by Arthur Moore.