Taking it back: Richard Dunwoody joins chorus of praise for Geraghty achievement
Richard Dunwoody said on Monday he was wrong to criticise Barry Geraghty's riding style on television several years ago after the rider overtook him on Saturday to become the fourth winningmost jump jockey in Britain and Ireland.
After Birchdale's Grade 2 win at Cheltenham secured the landmark, Geraghty revealed it had always been three-time champion Dunwoody he was trying to emulate while riding around fields on ponies as a youngster.
Dunwoody was Racing TV's main guest on the Luck On Sunday show, hosted by Tom Stanley, in which he talked about the career that inspired his autobiography Obsessed, gruelling duels with Adrian Maguire for the jockeys' title and of how Tony McCoy and Richard Johnson's achievements have put his own in the shade.
He realised afterwards he had failed to congratulate Geraghty, who less than 24 hours earlier had knocked him off fourth spot.
Contacting the Racing Post on Monday Dunwoody said: "Barry said some nice things about me on Saturday and I wanted to say well done to him, but one way or another I just didn't get the chance on Luck On Sunday.
"You've only got to look at all of those big races he's won and all of the top-class horses he's associated with – he's a great rider, a fantastic jockey, and a top lad too."
Dunwoody added: "I'm not sure exactly when it was that I gave Barry that bit of stick and said he was a bit loose in a finish and needed to tighten up, but it must have been when I was doing a bit of punditry after I retired. It was probably a good 15 years ago and I'd like to take it all back now. I know he was quite offended at the time, but he's certainly had the last laugh now."
Geraghty's two Irish titles and 1,876 wins include a Grand National on Monty's Pass (2003), Gold Cups on Kicking King (2005) and Bobs Worth (2013), Champion Hurdles on Punjabi (2009), Jezki (2014) and Buveur D'Air (2018) and five Queen Mother Champion Chases, including on Moscow Flyer (2003 and 2005) and Sprinter Sacre (2013).
Winningmost jump jockeys
4,348 Sir Anthony McCoy (1994-2015)
3,589 Richard Johnson (1994- )
2,738 Ruby Walsh (1995- )
1,876 BARRY GERAGHTY (1997- )
1,874 Richard Dunwoody (1983-99)
1,692 Peter Scudamore (1978-96)
1,589 Paul Carberry (1992-2015)
1,392 Davy Russell (1999- )
1,342 Noel Fehily (1998- )
1,311 Mick Fitzgerald (1988-2008)
(Stats correct before racing on January 28)
Since he was forced to retire following a neck injury 20 years ago Dunwoody has travelled the world and set himself a succession of extreme challenges, usually for charity, including reaching both North and South Poles on foot, walking the length of Japan, covering the same one mile in Newmarket 1,000 times in 1,000 hours, and more recently completing a marathon in North Korea. He has also become an acclaimed photographer.
Now more settled, with a young daughter and business interests both in Britain and Spain, 2019 promises to be a little quieter, although he is leading horseback tours to Montenegro in June and to Argentina in September, helping to raise money on behalf of the Injured Jockeys Fund.
He said: "I've done both of these trips before and they are really good fun. I'm really looking forward to them both."
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