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Barry Geraghty is hoping to make swift comeback at Punchestown

By Robert Jones

Barry Geraghty expects to find out today if the Punchestown Festival is a realistic target for his comeback from a broken leg.

Geraghty will miss the Crabbie's Grand National for the first time since 2000 after suffering a hairline fracture of his shin bone in a fall at Downpatrick on Sunday. Leading rider at the Aintree meeting since 2011, Geraghty also won the National itself in 2003 with Monty's Pass.

While Aintree and Fairyhouse's Irish Grand National are off the agenda, Geraghty hopes to find out from his specialist that Punchestown, which begins on April 28, is achievable.

Geraghty said: "My luck finally ran out and for the first time in 16 years I won't be lining up for the Grand National at Aintree.

"It means that I'll be missing some good rides but I've been lucky because I know well enough that in my job you dodge plenty of bullets and eventually you're going to be hit by one.

"I'll be going to see my specialist, Mr Kenny, and I'll be a bit wiser after as to when I'll get back but I'll stick to his opinion.

"He's very good and will tell me whether the Punchestown Festival is a realistic target."

Meanwhile, a decision on the participation of Many Clouds in the Grand National is likely to be made this weekend.

Trainer Oliver Sherwood was slightly disappointed with the Hennessy winner's display in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where he could only finish a 25-length sixth to Coneygree.

His owner Trevor Hemmings has already won the Grand National twice, with Hedgehunter and Ballabriggs, and would love another crack, but Sherwood is in no rush to commit.

"I'm meeting with Mick Meagher (racing manager) and Trevor Hemmings at the weekend and we'll probably make a decision then," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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