by Craig Braddick
Ross Geraghty has enjoyed a long and successful career in both American Steeplechasing, especially in partnership with trainer Ricky Hendriks in recent years, and in National Hunt Racing in his native Ireland, where he won the 2002 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on The Bunny Boiler. (Watch that race here.)
Ross agreed to be the first person to be featured in an occasional question-and-answer feature. We thank him and hope you enjoy it!
Who are some of the horses you are looking forward to riding this year in NSA races?
Ross Geraghty: Obviously, Optimus Prime and Zanjabeel, who will return later in the season, Sixty Five is one I’ve always held in high regard.
Obviously, you have had great success as a steeplechase jockey in the U.S., the champion jockey by wins and earnings in 2012 and last year’s champion by purse winnings. So, what professional goals do you have for 2019?
RG: The same as every year, win the Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills!
You work closely with trainer Ricky Hendriks. What qualities make him a great trainer to work with?
RG: Ricky has a great team around him, who he trusts and listens to. Eve [Ledyard] and Naum [Santiago] ride most of the work, I do the schooling, the guys in the barn, and when everyone is happy, they run. He buys a nice horse that suits our sport and trains them to be their best.
When you were growing up, who were your racing inspirations?
RG: Richard Dunwoody and Desert Orchid were the big names when I was a kid. I loved watching Conor O’Dwyer and Norman Williamson riding over fences.
I had the pleasure of riding against all three for many years, and we had good times together. A lot of people tried to copy a good friend of mine, Paul Carberry, which is impossible, he was simply different.
How do you think we can make first-time racegoers into long-term fans of steeplechasing?
RG: Race fans have asked me that question a lot, I think if we had a phone app that they could use instead of race cards on the day, with up-to-the-minute results, reports, and interviews, they might be more inclined to keep up with the sport as the season progresses.
What do you enjoy to do in your offtime?
RG: I like playing golf, I can beat Jack Doyle easier at golf!
I have an ex-steeplechaser called Black Quartz that I got from the Naylors. It is nice to just go for a hack on him, bring Monty my dog, jump whatever, and have fun.
I also like to cook, or experiment with food as I call it.
In recent years I started investing money in stocks, learning about options, and it is something I follow closely and discuss with Darren Nagle and Forrest Kelly most days.