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Geraghty heads Irish successes

Though the Irish-trained winners were a little thinner on the ground than in recent years at the Cheltenham Festival, there was plenty for Ireland to be proud of at the Prestbury Park showcase.

Barry Geraghty regained the jockeys' prize with five winners.

Previously successful once before in 2005, when he also had a total of five, Geraghty clinched the crown with a hat-trick on Wednesday, headed by the Nicky Henderson-trained Finian's Rainbow in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The Irish ace has now had a total of 25 winners at jump racing's biggest meeting of the year.

Irish riders were very much to the fore over the four days, with 22 of the 27 races won by jockeys from the Emerald Isle, while Irish trainers had a somewhat more agonising time of things, with 13 second-placed finishes.

Owner JP McManus enjoyed a fantastic Festival as he won five races, including a first Cheltenham Gold Cup courtesy of Synchronised.

However, the toast of the Cheltenham trainers had to be Nicky Henderson, with a record total of seven winners to land yet another Festival trainers' title, including McManus' final winner of the meeting, Bellvano.

During a memorable four days, the Seven Barrows handler enjoyed a four-timer on Wednesday when he past the all-time Festival winners' record of 40 held by the late Fulke Walwyn.

"The last four or five years have been amazing. We've just got a lot of good horses and wonderful owners," he said.

"We'll start planning again on Sunday because it (the season) does come to four days at Cheltenham. You've got to make the most of it as you'll never know what's around the corner."

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