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Geraghty hoping for a change of fortune

By Nick Robson

Barry Geraghty had an operation on his broken left arm yesterday and will be praying for a change of luck after his fall in Monday's Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse climaxed what has been an injury plagued 12 months.

Geraghty - who replaced the retiring Ulster great AP McCoy as top owner JP McManus's retained rider two years ago - will miss next week's Punchestown Festival and faces three months out.

Geraghty only returned a fortnight ago after lung and rib injuries forced him to miss last month's Cheltenham Festival.

The 37-year-old from Meath was injured on Monday when his mount Minella Foru fell at the eighth fence.

Prior to his fall, Geraghty had landed the Grade Two juveniles' hurdle on Project Bluebook, trained by John Quinn.

After the Irish National, won by Our Duke, Geraghty missed the winning ride on the Joseph O'Brien-trained Slowmotion in the following race and was taken to hospital for X-rays.

Irish Turf Club medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick said: "It is the same injury he suffered last year, but on the other side. He is looking at three months out."

Geraghty was out for more than two months after falling from Cernunnos at Market Rasen last July and in February was sidelined for five weeks following a fall at Kempton, meaning he missed out on the Cheltenham Festival.

Geraghty's winning mount Project Bluebook could this summer return to Ireland in pursuit of more big-race honours.

After having previously finished fourth in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival, the McManus-owned four-year-old overcame trouble in running to land the Grade Two Dunboyne Juvenile Hurdle on Monday.

North Yorkshire trainer John Quinn is now keen to give Project Bluebook a break before thoughts turn to the Irish festivals later in the year.

Quinn said: "I was thrilled with him. He's absolutely fine and is back at home, looking sharp.

"He's a lovely, consistent horse but I think we'll give him a little holiday now and aim him for Galway, Listowel or a good hurdle race in England."

Sea Of Grace can book her Qipco 1000 Guineas ticket by winning the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes on day two of the Craven Meeting at Newmarket.

The Born To Sea filly was trained by John Oxx last term before being transferred to William Haggas at the end of the campaign, and the Newmarket handler should benefit from Oxx's excellent handling during her juvenile days.

Sea Of Grace made her racecourse bow in June, finishing a creditable third behind Rehana and ante-post Guineas favourite Rhododendron.

Sea Of Grace won a fair maiden from Eziyra at Tipperary before having her sights raised to Group Three level on what was her final start of 2016 last August, winning by a neck over old rival Eziyra.

Haggas says he is "excited" to run her and it is likely she still has more to give.

Belfast Telegraph

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