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ST LEGER: 2 Festival winning pilots to feature at St Leger Festival

National Hunt will be well represented at the St Leger Festival in September

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St Leger - Legends Race - Barry Geraghty - Jockey Richard Johnson on board Native River (right) winning the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup during Gold Cup Day of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Multiple-time Cheltenham Festival-winning jockeys Richard Johnson and Barry Geraghty are set to ride in this year’s Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival next month.

888 Promotion

The pair, who both retired in 2021 and 2020, respectively, will make temporary reappearances in the saddle in Yorkshire ahead of the final Classic of the campaign in the charity contest, which raises money for both Jack Berry House and the National Horseracing college.

Over £1m has been raised for the organisations since the race’s inception in 2010.

WATCH: ST LEGER RIDER RICHARD JOHNSON WINS THE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP ABOARD NATIVE RIVER [CREDIT: RACING TV]

Only Ruby Walsh boasts more successes at National Hunt’s biggest meeting than Johnson, who concluded his career with 3,819 winners at Newton Abbot in April, while Geraghty finalised his career with five winners at Prestbury Park’s showpiece meeting two seasons ago.

Saint Roi Cheltenham
Saint Roi ridden by Barry Geraghty (centre) jumps the last on the way to winning the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle during day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Speaking ahead of his ride at Town Moor, Geraghty told the Racing Post: “I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been riding out plenty, but I think my fitness will need to improve between now and then.

“We’ve horses at home and I’ve ridden some work locally – I rode for Sneezy Foster last week – so I’ve kept myself busy, but I know for a race my fitness would be a bit off. I’ll do something about that in the next few weeks, but I’m getting on the bike to get my legs into gear.

Doncaster’s Cazoo St Leger Festival takes place between Wednesday 8th September until Saturday 11th September

“I’m sure there will be plenty of familiar faces to see and it’s been a brilliant race over the years, so it’s great to be involved, especially for such a super cause.”

Johnson, meanwhile, added that his involvement will not swerve his decision on returning to the sport professionally.

“No!” he said when asked if a comeback was on the cards.

Richard Johnson Jockey Cheltenham
Richard Johnson was Champion Jockey in Britain on four occasions

“I’m very happy to have retired when I did and I’ll enjoy the day, but that will be it.

“I’ve got some young horses at home and do a bit of media work – I’ve just linked up with 888 and will be writing blogs for them in the jumps season – so I’ve plenty to keep me occupied.

“I haven’t been on the scales in months, although I haven’t upsized much in clothes – they’re a bit snugger than they were, but I haven’t had to go and buy a new wardrobe!”

Noel Fehily, who landed a remarkable Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase double in 2017, is also set to feature.

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.

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