Monday 13th July, 2020

Barry Geraghty has once again timed his run to perfection.  Having had such a wonderful Cheltenham Festival, it was only sensible to announce his retirement now he has reached 40.  As he has said, he has fulfilled all his dreams and has contributed to many other people’s also.  His list of big race winners is formidable.

His wins on Moscow Flyer stand out and if ever there was a big race jockey, it was he.  Barry has always conducted himself very well, publicly and privately and it is no wonder so many jockeys hold him in such high regard.

John Hamner is twice Barry Geraghty’s age but in many circles no less of a legend.  He celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday and although the big party has been postponed until his 81st, it was a pleasure to join him in his garden for a glass.

Hamner commentaries have been the stuff of legend ever since my childhood.  There is no finer race reader and when it came to jockeys agents, he dealt with the best because he was the best.

Some of his greatest victories have been in my quiz team at the West Berkshire Racing Club each year.  Brilliant at remembering what won in the fifties and sixties, less so what won last week.

The two conditions of him being in my team are that I pick him up from his house and I buy him a bottle of red wine of arrival.  Well worth the effort I can assure you and always nice to have a snifter in his kitchen on the way home.  Looking forward to his 90th already.

Sad to hear of the passing of one of the football greats, Jack Charlton.  A formidable defender, brilliant manager, hugely entertaining after dinner speaker and a thoroughly charismatic guy.  People often say ‘they don’t make them like that anymore’ – sometimes they do but not in this case.  Rest in peace.